Tota explains why Tunku Abdul Aziz’s suggestion that non-Malays be accorded bumiputera status would not suit him.
Tunku Abdul Aziz, the ex-DAP vice-chairman and now an ardent supporter of the Umno-dominated BN, in an interview with China Press (11 June 2013), suggested that in the interests of national unity, non-Malays should be accorded bumiputra status, nothwithstanding the provisos in the Federal Constitution.
The colonial policy of divide-and-rule was bad enough. British colonialists compartmentalised Malayan society into ethnic groups to serve their purpose. When we attained independence, the Federal Constitution granted equality to everyone with a proviso for special rights for Malays which have apparently become a permanent feature.
Once the NEP was implemented, the Umno-dominated BN further divided Malaysian society. In addition to Malays, Chinese and Indians, a new term ‘bumiputera’ came into existence. From within the bumiputeras, another class, Umnoputeras, emerged.
I talked to a good Malay friend – very well-educated, independent minded and a man of integrity and principles – about my opinion of non-Malays becoming bumiputras. He concurred with my thoughts and feelings on the issue. He is a true Malaysian, a self-made man who is averse to the NEP and bumiputera status.
He warned me that as a bumiputera I run the risk of being lumped together with the Umnoputeras, who have cleverly camouflaged the Umnoputra Agenda as a Malay Agenda and devised various strategies to enrich themselves, their families and their cronies and amass great wealth at the expense of the nation. He considers them looters, plunderers, predators and kleptocrats, who pillage the public treasury.
He joked that as a ‘bumiputera’ I would be brainwashed into believing that I need to be protected from the womb to the tomb because I cannot compete with others. Because of this, I would develop an inferiority complex that may become part of my DNA.
So, Tunku Abdul Aziz, a better idea is to abolish the NEP and with it the differentiation between ‘bumiputera’ and ‘non-bumiputera’.
Tunku Abdul Aziz, what I need is equality, equal opportunity, justice and fair treatment by the government. I want to be respected as an individual Malaysian. That is all I need.
I became an orphan before I was one-year old and ended up in an orphanage. With the help of my sister and her husband I completed the School Certificate, became a teacher, got married. My homemaker wife and I could afford to have only one child to educate by mortgaging my house.
All the trials and tribulations I underwent have steeled me and helped me to develop a personal philosophy of life and live my life according to the creed adopted by an American which I quote below:
I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon – if I can. I seek opportunity – not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk, to dream and to build, to fall and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenge of life to the guaranteed calm of utopia. I WILL NOT TRADE FREEDOM FOR BENEFICENCE NOR MY DIGNITY FOR A HAND-OUT. It is my heritage to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done. All this is what it means to be an American. – Dean Alfange
Tunku Abdul Aziz, you are a Malay, a Bumiputra, enjoying all the rights and privileges given to you. Moreover, as member of a royal family, you are on the civil list and qualify for a monthly allowance. You became a senator, courtesy of Lim Guan Eng, and now draw a monthly pension, which you have said you deserve.
My Malay friend’s brother had to quit government service after working for almost 25 years and before optional retirement age and, except for a small gratuity, he got nothing else.
Tunku Abdul Aziz, I thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness. For the reasons I have given, it would not suit me to be a ‘bumiputera’. I wish you well. May you continue to enjoy the privileges and perks that come with your bumiputera and royal status. You are you.
I just want to be myself, maintain my independence, self-worth and self-reliance because I am a … dignified individual and proud Malaysian.
Tota is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.