Saturday, March 15, 2008

Privileged Status at Risk, Malays Protest After Election Losses

Chanting “Long live the Malays!” several hundred members of Malaysia’s largest ethnic group gathered Friday on this largely ethnic Chinese island, defying a police ban on protests and raising tensions after sharp electoral losses by the country’s Malay-dominated governing coalition.

Newly elected state governments have moved rapidly to abolish some of the long-held privileges of ethnic Malays. Those efforts have challenged the core of Malaysia’s ethnically based political system and inflamed Malays’ sensibilities. Before elections last Saturday, Malays dominated politics through the country’s largest party, the United Malays National Organization, known as U.M.N.O.

The opposition parties that beat the governing party and its partners in five states say the nation’s affirmative action program for Malays should be based on need rather than ethnicity. But the opposition, too, is struggling to contain fissures along ethnic lines as a Chinese opposition party competes with its Malay counterpart.

The affirmative action program, more than 35 years old, gives Malays benefits like discounts on new houses and 30 percent quotas in companies’ initial public offerings.

“I don’t think many people have bothered to investigate the details of the policy itself,” said Tricia Yeoh of the Center for Public Policy Studies, an independent research center in Kuala Lumpur, the capital. “But it’s an affirmation of their identity in the country, of their significance and their worth.”

Demonstrators here on Friday chanted “Allahu akbar!” — “God is great!” in Arabic — and vowed to return for more protests. They were dispersed by riot police officers. Nasarudin bin Mat Nor, 70, a retired teacher who took part in the protest, said, “If there is no help for the Malays, they will get poorer.”

Malaysians are split as much along religious lines as ethnic, with Muslim Malays governed by a separate legal system. The protest Friday immediately followed Friday Prayer at a mosque. But the election showed that the Malays are also divided between educated, wealthy and often urban Malays and poorer families in the countryside.

“U.M.N.O. is going to go through some sort of consolidation,” said Ibrahim Suffian of the Merdeka Center, an independent polling agency. “A lot of people are looking for someone to take the fall for the results.”

For the first time since independence from Britain in 1957, the governing coalition has lost control of Malaysia’s largest and wealthiest states, including Penang, Selangor and Perak.

The governing coalition, the National Front, won slightly more than 60 percent of the seats in the federal Parliament, down from 90 percent of the seats in the 2004 elections.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has vowed to stay, but is under pressure to quit. Mukhriz Mahathir, the son of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is from the same party, called Friday for Mr. Abdullah to step down.

Mr. Abdullah came to power in 2003 promising to end corruption and make government more accountable. But scandals, rising prices and protests by ethnic Indians over religious freedom and income inequality caused his popularity to fall. (The New York Times)

***** Firstly a 35-year-old policy should not still persist with the word 'new'. It is basically a bloody OLD policy which has been diverted from its its initial goal and now serves as a convenient conduit for amassing wealth for ruling party cronies.

Secondly it was a mistake for Lim Guan Eng to have mentioned about the NEP so early into his term. Perhaps he should have exercised some patience and restraint and not given space for sore losers to capitalise on this emotive issue.

Thirdly I don't believe that the so-called gathering was a spontaneous reaction to his statement, but the dirty work of the cunning dalang2 in Putrajaya, ably assisted by some lowlife in Penang Umno.
Image - Source

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

see this

http://kucheng.myminicity.com/

3:34 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This opposition was put in place solely onthe ticket that people were so disillusioned with the present government and their policies. However within just a few weeks of their victory they are making some key plunders, crossing paths with royalty and making stupid statements which are unnecessary. I hope they get a quick reality check and do what they were voted to do.

1:27 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Cencaluk.Com said...

THey are so scared that they'll get poorer because their leaders never told them how to stand up on their own feet and strive to be better. All they were told is to fight for priviledges and more extra priviledges.

Hopefully they will wake up and be brave and persistent enough to be independant of all these extra priviledges. If they do, they too can be a persistent and can endure hardship like the Chinese.

8:47 PM GMT+8  
Blogger danger said...

i agree with anon at 1.27am. however as a malay which i'm sure none of u are, i am inflamed by this anti-malay getting into power an directly spitted out what were in his and his father's hearts all these while..the demolition of the malay race an a mini-singapore which was thwarted in the 70's. no doubt one must not rely on crutches 4ever but if it were not 4 this helping hand which came into realisation by may 13, 1969, i would be very slow 2 appreciate as also my brethrens, my intelligence and ability as a human being and that i could be on par or better than anyone else. if this help had not come, we would still be able 2 rise up above these challenges but it might be 2 late and we might have been marginalised worst than we are now, ala the poverty stricken red indians, put them on show, sympathise with them but there u have it..the malays were just darn 2 lazy..2 stupid..2 ignorant 4 anything better..

9:10 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous TRISHUL said...

By the way, when the HINDRAF and BERSIH took to the street, the asshole KJ called them 'beruk' and the brown nosing police did not hesitate to use force on everyone indiscriminately. But when the the UMNO did the shouting the police has mellowed.

Dids they ran out of water cannon and tear gas?

Why the double standard? is this another ketuanan melayu privilage?

Why weren't they called names by the leaders?

I hope the UMNO and Police read this.

8:09 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Cencaluk.Com said...

On danger at 9:10pm: Its been more than 30 years, do you still need to rely on the cructhes? Dont you think its time to let it go?

I think the NEP had done quite a lot to fill the economic gap between Malays and other ethnic groups especially Chinese, although there are also poverty among the minority groups such as Indians and those Bumis in Sabah and Sarawak. Poverty applies to all, its just a matter of how big the problem is in each group.

I'm not saying that NEP is bad but I think its time to move ahead and use the new approach.

8:37 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought they 'BN' were civilise people. They always says street is no good, disturbing the peace.. hey who is doing it now.

Have they tried talking GE, the 'non-UMNO Malay' shouldn't get too influence by these BNs... They (BNs) only trying to redeem themselves.. trying to look as if they are doing their job as 'pembangkang' protecting the public.

You have rep in PKR and you PAS.. they are our voices. Gives them the benefits to govern.

We voted them in and we can vote them out. 4 years is nothing.. we had been deprived for so many years already. Think again - who actually benefited when BN governs!

10:51 AM GMT+8  

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