Sunday, February 26, 2012

Žižek and social change in Malaysia – Part 2.... by Alwyn Lau

Žižek and social change in Malaysia – Part 2

February 26th, 2012 by Alwyn Lau, Guest Contributor · Add a Comment

In the techno-apocalyptic hit movie, The Matrix, the hero John Anderson (eventually renamed Neo) was given the choice of two pills by his mentor, Morpheus. There was the blue pill, which would keep Neo within the illusory realm of the computer-generated world of The Matrix.
Or, he could take the red pill and plunge down the rabbit’s hole of the truth (that the world as he knows it is nothing more than a software being run and he’s really stuck in a gel-based bath-tub with two dozens wires plugged into him).
Blue – to stay inside illusion. Red – to have one’s eyes opened to truth.
Žižek has, however, proposed a third pill: One which lets us see the truth within illusion (let’s call this the purple pill).
In one of his master-classes on Lacan, Žižek discusses a comic strip in which three men are asked what they enjoy doing in their free time. The comic strip shows each person answering with a particular hobby (e.g. playing an instrument, mountain-hiking, painting the house, etc.) but thinking the same thing: sex.
Žižek then suggests that reality is more complex because given the nature of sexual fantasies, who ever dreams of doing the act immediately and ‘animalistically’ as if the only thing going on inside even the most horny minds is the ‘act’ of coupling itself ?
Don’t we all weave a narrative of fiction (be it about seduction at the office, at a friend’s house, whilst cooking, or whatever)?
The point is, according to Žižek, the comic strip had it backwards: It should’ve shown the men saying ”I want to have sex” whilst imagining different scenarios (e.g. in the park, at the symphony, at the backyard, etc.).
Which brings us to the second Žižek /Lacanian principle in this series (go HERE for the first one):
Truth takes the form of fiction.
Our social world cannot survive without fictions. Truths require fictions.
Take our social and business conversations. Don’t businessmen often ‘dance around’ at the start of negotiations and make all kinds of pointless trivia before casually easing up to the matters at hand?
Then again, is it really possible to have business discussions sans the small-talk?
Don’t we, whenever we have to point out some embarrassing mistake (either by ourselves or others), often cloak the communiqué in ‘polite laughter’?
Then again, especially with people of equal status, how often do we simply call up a person and immediately point out an error?
And when has any political party ever admitted any of their actions or policies to be politically motivated in the least?
Is this because they really think people don’t know?
Or could it be precisely because they know that any intelligent voter will be concerned should their favourite party admit to having political motifs at all?
What would every BERSIH supporter think if all of a sudden Anwar declared out loud that part of BERSIH’s objectives was to put Pakatan Rakyat in power?
Then again, is the proposition that a major public rally against the incumbent government has something to do with raising the popularity of the Opposition, in the least surprising?
And if not, would it not then be the public nature of such a declaration from which the shock-value is derived i.e. that suddenly the truth (which everybody knows) is no longer ‘in the form of fiction’?
Likewise, would the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) ever explicitly state that 1Malaysia seeks to exclude certain parties from being in office, that it’s about keeping UMNO in power, etc.?
The truth of political hegemony relies on the fiction of universal popularity.
In this sense, perhaps it’s less helpful to keep repeating how UMNO is full of cronies, scandals and so on.
Perhaps Lim Guan Eng and Karpal Singh should go live on TV (local and international) commending Barisan Nasional for being absolutely and 100% corruption-free.
Such a fiction – precisely because it FAILS to hide the truth of BN’s corruption – could spur people to ask what in heavens is happening.
“If all you want to say is that BN is corruption-free, why are you saying that BN is corruption-free?”
This would be akin to a world-class criminal who inexplicably gets caught (which, in the movie The Dark Knight, was actually what the Joker did).
In such cases, what’s being done is that fiction is being wielded to pronounce a ‘special’ kind of truth. The objective is nothing other than to direct their listeners’ attention to the ‘deeper’ truth hidden within their actions or statement (or, in the case of the Joker, to ‘hide’ his truth from the police).
Isn’t it remarkable, too, in an age where ‘clear’, unambiguous theological doctrine is encouraged, that Jesus in particular decided to make his main form of teaching parables i.e. storied fictions?!
Was there something about the kingdom of God which couldn’t abide with overly straight-forward direct exposition?
Could it even be the case that God ‘learnt’ from the Old Testament apostasy stories how even the most detailed and precise form of truth-propositions (i.e. commandments, rules and regulations) failed to touch the heart and therefore preferred His Son to speak awry for a change?  To obtain holistic understanding precisely by risking mis-understanding?
Theological truth – to be grasped in its life-changing totality – needs the narratival power of ‘fiction’.
I recently chanced upon a strange event.
The government has recently embarked on some heavy renovation works in the area that I live. This has caused the re-routing of traffic away from a common road to one which passed straight through some (reasonably high-class) residential houses.
As I drove out, I soon I reached a fork in the road. If I turned left, I would have to drive through right in front of the houses. If I turned right, I would drive on the rocky half-road prepared by the contractors temporarily. It was entirely my choice.
But here was a peculiar sight: A man, obviously a resident, was standing at the fork with his dog, holding a thumbs-up towards my right turning (towards the common half-built road) and bowing repeatedly towards me.
It appears this man, having reached the end of his rope with the traffic and pollution, decided to humble himself by sincerely requesting drivers to take the public road, instead of the one leading to the front of his house (and others).
It was a strange, almost ‘fictional’, sight which nevertheless worked well to communicate the truth of his predicament – that economic growth, the very vehicle of his wealth, as manifested in burgeoning public development, was now taking away his privacy and (to some extent) his very idea of a home.
A master of business, of profiting off the institution of economic consumption, had to adopt the fiction of a servant – bowing, kow-towing even – to present the truth that business/consumer interests are ‘consuming’ the very place where he lives.
That man embodied the paradox of Capitalism: That our very efforts to obtain riches will double-back on us. If the man at the road was a businessman, it’s more than likely that his riches were assisted by some government infrastructural works which disrupted somebody else’s living space! Yet now here he is. Almost powerless at a road which threatens to engulf his peace of mind.
Which brings me to a final ‘truth’. What if the lies and sensational events and debates of Malaysian politics all serve to embody the biggest publicly disavowed truth in the country?
What if all the battles against injustice, against corruption, between Pakatan and Barisan, all serve to fictionalise the one truth that people dare not admit i.e. that in the end political justice is ultimately wedded to economic prosperity?
The fiction of the entire political sandiwara (shadow play) serves to ‘hide’ (precisely because it presents in hidden form) the truth of Capitalism. This is the truth that in the end it’s not justice that matters, it’s not freedom of speech, it’s not racial unity, it’s not the plight of the orang asli - in the end, it’s the national bank account. That must be sustained at all costs and ultimately the nation couldn’t care less who’s in power.
Recall, too, the 1999 General Elections which saw the majority of Malaysian  Chinese – arguably the most educated and well-off group in the country – more or less vote the Barisan Nasional way and remain relatively unaffected by all the cries of Reformasi.
Perhaps this also explains why in Selangor, the government juxtaposes ‘no plastic bag’ Saturdays with the ever-increasing growth of building projects. So on one hand, the people should care for the environment whilst on the other the air and rivers be damned if developers need to worship at the altar of Profit.
Capital’s supremacy today takes, because it exploits and hides behind, the formof political struggle – is this true? Or mere fiction? Or do we need a pill to figure it out?

Žižek and social change in Malaysia – Part 1... by Alwyn Lau

Žižek and social change in Malaysia – Part 1

February 12th, 2012 by Alwyn Lau, Guest Contributor · 10 Comments

Slavoj Žižek is widely acknowledged to be one of the most creative and vibrant inter-disciplinary philosophers today. He has written more than 30 books covering topics ranging from cultural theories and film criticism to political philosophy, theology and psycho-analysis. Some of his more popular and accessible works include Violence: Six Sideways GlancesHow To Read Lacanand First As Tragedy, Then As Farce.
This series of articles discusses some ‘principles’ (if they can be called that) extracted from the work of Slavoj Žižek and applies it to Malaysian life. Here’s the first one:
#1. “The way to overcome a problematic scenario is to fully identifywith its assumptions and framework”
This is known as traversing (or disturbing) the fantasy. Žižek explains this via the example of three popular movies.
In the bus-thriller Speed (with Keanu Reeves), there’s a scene where a terrorist takes a policeman hostage as part of his attempt to escape. The hero decides toshoot his own colleague in the leg. This makes it virtually impossible for the terrorist to drag the policeman outside, thus completely foiling the terrorist’s plan.
Similarly, in the Mel Gibson movie Ransom, the father of the kidnapped boy radically subverts the kidnappers’ demand by offering millions of dollars for information leading to the rescue of the boy. In some sense, the father had already accepted the loss of his son; his actions, therefore, reflected and generated a complete reversal of the situation, putting the kidnappers on the defensive.
Finally, and most radically, in The Usual Suspects (starring Kevin Spacey), the protagonist when threatened with the murder of his wife and children, proceeds to kill his own family thus removing them from the equation and allowing him total freedom to pursue his enemies.
In all the three cases/movies above, the coordinates of the game were totally changed; the system no longer appeared the same to all involved. This is what Žižek hopes to see in political action – acts that bring about massive systemic crisis and a drastic subversion of the socio-political framework itself.
Another example Žižek mentions is given at the start of Jose Saramago’s book,Blindness, in which during an election a virtual no-show of voters dealt a severe systemic blow to the whole system.
Žižek claims that such an event - a mass rejection of elections which necessitated a reappraisal of the very concept of democratic elections – was ‘more violent’ than what Hitler did with his world wars and genocide which, so Žižek says, was a very busy and active way of ensuring that nothing really changed; the Third Reich embodied, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”, a French phrase oft quoted by Žižek, meaning, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
Because Hitler, instead of addressing deep class antagonisms, chose to (mis)-direct Germany’s problems towards the Jews, homosexuals, Communists and so on.
Yet the movies examples and that of Saramago’s novel point to one key element of political action which Žižek challenges us to: That true ‘acts’ of the Real involve a striking at one’s self, a voluntary (and often desperate)personal sacrifice of what truly matters.
Such actions include the radical faith that in order for something ‘better’ to emerge, even the ‘good’ at present must be vanquished if only because it continually chains to a fantasmic system constituted by and propagating a deception that there is no better system to speak meaningfully of.
These examples also highlight how, perhaps the ultimate way of defeating a bad situation could be, to act as if one completely holds to its fundamental tenets in the hope of thereby exposing the lie or facade of the system itself. This is the obverse of the fact that, according to Žižek, people tend to believe things half-heartedly, ‘from a distance’, at arms’ length and so on. Yet it is precisely such distantiation of belief which keeps us in bondage to the system prescribed by the belief.
Because the distance deceives us into believing that we’re not really assimilated, thus allowing us to simultaneously continue behaving as if we do believe.
Take the Malaysian education system. Virtually everybody realises and recognises how superficial and unhelpful it is for children to keep working and hunting for the highest number of A-plus’, to continue with memorisation/rote-learning and such.
However, in direct contradiction to these concerns, parents still continue to push their students to score as high as they can in every school examination. The very same parents who say they “no longer believe in the education system” will chasten their children for not performing well within that system.
If pushed, the normal response will be, “Well, I don’t really believe in the system, but unfortunately our culture and industries still rely on it”  - in other words, I don’t believe in it but since someone ELSE does, I have no choice!.
This is akin to one of Žižek’s most quoted jokes about the man who believes he’s a seed of grain. He goes to a doctor, gets some medication and a week later the doctor asks him if he still believes he’s a seed of grain. The man says, “No, but the chicken still does!”
The solution – traversing the fantasy – would then involve acting as if the system was 100% correct and without error. So, parents who want to challenge the system of A-accumulation can possibly do the following:
  • pull their children out of all activities not related to obtaining an A;
  • lobby that all extra-curricular, physical education, moral education and health education be replaced with extra tuition classes;
  • perform severe public punishment on their children should they get even 1% less than the score required for an A;
  • insist that schools should hire only teachers who have scored a minimum number of As’ in their previous examinations at school or university or at teacher-training colleges, etc…
Crazy and disastrous?
The rationale is to push to the extreme the effects of a system which privileges top marks to the exclusion of thinking, creativity, teamwork and fresh pedagogical approaches.
But back to politics.
Some historical milestones Žižek has considered suggestive of this kind of Real Act include the May ’68 student protests in France, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (and the founding of the Church), the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin’s collectivisations,  the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and of course, the French Revolution.
In the Malaysian context then, what could a political act of the Real look like?
What fantasy-belief sustains the political system (which almost every Malaysian condemns)?
What is it that every Malaysian will never say they believe, yet inadvertently determines our behaviour?

Alwyn Lau is a member of Friends in Conversation. He is presently a lecturer in Sociology at KDU University-College and is also pursuing a PhD  at Monash University (Malaysia). His research interests include theology, critical theory, political philosophy, psychoanalysis, hot food, misunderstood people and the occasional bad movie.

Friday, February 24, 2012

TMI: A plea for unity — by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

A plea for unity — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

TMI: February 24, 2012
FEB 24 — I am indeed honoured to have been invited to speak to all of you gathered here this morning on a subject of great importance for the continued preservation and survival of our nation.
As all of you are aware, our nation became free from the fetters of colonial domination about five-and-a-half decades ago.
Sadly and strangely, after 55 years of independence, I think we are farther apart now than we have ever been before.
On August 31, 1957 our freedom from the shackles of a colonial past was greeted with euphoria by the different races who came together on the basis of a common vision for a shared future.
We then had a prime minister who believed that the purpose of independence was the pursuit of happiness for the different races in the country, and our success in that pursuit was to him the ultimate test of our success as a nation.
Tunkuʼs vision for the newly independent nation was based on the “greatest happiness principle”, a subject of intense political discourse in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe.
Like the enlightened political philosophers in the western world, our father of independence believed that governments existed to provide for the happiness of the people, and nothing more.
“For us in the Alliance we have no dogma other than to ensure happiness for the people,” the Tunku once said.
Tunku recognised that individual happiness was tied up with collective happiness, and that sometimes we needed to sacrifice our own comforts willingly so that people from another community were not deprived of happiness.
Like Jeremy Bentham, the great English philosopher would have it, Tunku therefore favoured policies that would bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of Malaysians.
In his words, “what I gave to one, I also gave to others. In this way, we made everybody happy. This has always been my aim.”
In fact, according to him, “that is what I live for, to ensure peace, happiness and prosperity for our Malaya which we all love so well.”
Tunkuʼs policies were tied up with the golden rule that we must have respect for one another and treat others just as we wish others to treat us.
This golden rule was an important principle in an interdependent, multi-ethnic society such as ours.
Tunkuʼs basic concept of happiness is best expressed in his favourite maxim, “live and let live”.
It is a maxim that calls for acceptance of people as they are, although they may have a different way of life. Tunku applied the maxim in the public domain.
Tunku was a real father to the nation, as expressed in these words, “… I am a happy prime minister and I have cause to be so. I can feel the pulse of this nation; I am not the prime minister of this nation, but the father to all the peoples who live here.”
If Tunku had boasted that he was the happiest prime minister in the world, it was only because the people were happy. In Tunkuʼs words at that time, “I pray and hope that this happy state of affairs will continue for all times.”
Unfortunately, however, Tunkuʼs dreams were dashed to dust by the events of May 13, 1969.
This once happiest prime minister expressed the pain he felt as Father of Merdeka as he relived those traumatic moments:
“I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”
Such was the man that Tunku was. He was the moving spirit of the nation.
Tunku has long gone, and today his premiership is a distant memory. Since the time he left, inter-ethnic relations have taken a turn for the worse on all fronts.
Today, we have a regime that promotes the concept of 1 Malaysia with all its contradictions.
We have an official document that explains the 1 Malaysia concept as a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself as Malaysian first, and by race second.
However, we have a leader who openly transgresses his own official policy by declaring that he is “Malay first” and “Malaysian second”.
The statement comes as a severe blow not just to the concept of 1 Malaysia, but also as a nullification of Jiwa Malaysia or the National Spirit that Tunku was trying hard to inculcate.
No wonder that people can no longer recognise the jiwa — they just donʼt feel as though they are fully Malaysian.
It is strange that after 55 years of freedom, we have not learnt the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.
The countryʼs source of strength is unity, and this source of strength has been slowly whittled away over the years.
We have become a nation of strangers, as evidenced in the fields of politics, the economy, education and the civil service.
The strong presence of communal political parties in the country is chiefly to be blamed for the sad state of race relations in the country. These political parties invariably support racial policies and imbibe racial sentiments among the people whom they represent.
In their day-to-day administration of the country, the powers that be often give scant regard to the constitutional provision contained in Article 8(1) which states that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”; and Article 8(2) which states that “there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment”.
One major sore point in the area of race relations is the New Economic Policy, whose original intention to create unity has been subverted to become a major source of disunity not only between the various races but also among the Malays and Bumiputeras in general.
The New Economic Policy, which was conceived in 1971 not long after the Tunku had retired as prime minister, was primarily created to address poverty, and to raise the level of Malay participation in the economy.
It was intended for all Malaysians, and not just for the Malays or Bumiputeras.
As a former finance minister, let me emphasise that it was never the intention of the NEP to create an incubated class of Malay capitalists.
If we visit the government departments or universities, we wonder where all the non-Malays have gone.
After 1969, suddenly there was this attempt to recruit mostly Malays into the civil service.
It is tragic that the civil service does not reflect the racial composition of the Malaysian population, as the predominant presence of only one race tends to engender a sub-culture that is antithetical to the evolution of a dynamic and efficient civil administration in the country.
Our school system is not as it used to be. The non-Malays prefer to send their children to vernacular schools, as the national schools have assumed an exclusively Malay character.
Needless to say, national schools have become even less attractive to the non-Malays as English is no longer used in the teaching of mathematics and science.
The situation will be very different if all discriminatory practices in the education system were to be abolished, and a common system of education for all is adopted.
National unity is the one area that we cannot afford to ignore, and the real genesis of national unity, I submit, is from an unlikely source: Parliament, warts and all.
It is the Parliament that has the final say in charting the direction the country is heading to.
We must have a strong and resolute government which recognises the needs of all Malaysians, and formulates the right policies for the propagation of a cohesive and integrated society.
If Parliament enacts policies that are just and fair for all Malaysians based on meritocracy and need, more than half the battle for national unity would be won.
In this respect, the rakyat as voters must realise that in the ultimate they alone hold the key to the future of this country.
* This is the text of the speech by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at the Breakfast Meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre organised by Paddy Schubert Sdn Bhd on February 24, 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Malaysian Chronicle: Selangor records best financial result in 28 years

Selangor records best financial result in 28 years 
Written by Malaysia Chronicle 

Selangor                                                           records best                                                           financial                                                           result in 28                                                           years

Selangor state assembly was told that the state government's revenue increased by RM200 million during the first six months of this year. 

To a question by Sekinchan state assemblyman Ng Swee Lim, Mentri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (left) said that the state's cash reserve stood at RM918 million at the end of 2010, RM1,100 million at June 30, 2011.

“The investment has increased by RM557 million as at June 30, 2011 compared to RM668 million at December 31, 2010. With the two sources combined it will be RM1,760 million compared to RM1,580 million for the same period in 2010. 

"In six months, the state government has managed to increase the state revenue by RM200 million and this is the best financial record over the last 28 years,” he said. 

Khalid stressed that the state not only achieved revenue increase but also good financial management which has been Pakatan Rakyat's battle cry before it wrested the state from Barisan Nasional in March 2008. He said the state Micro Credit programme had distributed RM50 million to the people with sources generated from debt collection and the amount could be grouped under the Mentri Besar Consolidated Account.

Khalid thanked the state civil service for efficient management of the state revenue, including digitally documenting details of debtors. 

“The state government does not give up ‘brooms’ to those who fail to perform, instead the Pakatan Rakyat state government gives gift in the form of technology to its officers," added Khalid, referring to his predecessor Mohammad Khir Toyo whose public handing out of brooms as symbol of failure of municipal council officers in collecting debts had invited condemnation from the civil servants.
Khalid said the state government had now digitalised its filing system.

"Almost 2 million records have been digitized and the cost came from the debt collection,” he said. 
- Harakah daily

Penang new Government out-performed the previous administration.
Selangor new Government shown that they have done better than the previous blood suckers.
Now...who do you want for your next Government in your States?
Use your vote wisely!! 

BN will try to block this type of news from reaching the rakyat.  
 It is now up to you to spread this piece of good news.

TMI: Do Malays have rights and privileges? — by Hussaini Abdul Karim

Do Malays have rights and privileges? — Hussaini Abdul Karim

TMI: February 14, 2012
FEB 14 — Malays (Malay: Melayu Jawi: ملايو) are an ethnic group of Austronesian people predominantly inhabiting the Malay peninsula including the southernmost parts of Thailand and island of Singapore, coastal Indonesian including east of Sumatra, coastal Borneo, including Brunei, coastal Sarawak and Sabah, and the smaller islands which lie between these locations. These locations today are part of the modern nations of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand and western Indonesia.
Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia defines various terms used in the Constitution. It has an important impact on Islam in Malaysia and the Malay people due to its definition of a Malay person under clause 2. It took effect after August 31, 1957 (“Merdeka Day” or “Independence Day”) in West Malaysia, and took effect in Singapore and East Malaysia when they merged with Malaya in 1963. The article no longer applies to Singapore, as it declared independence from Malaysia in 1965; however, it does affect the legal status of Malay Singaporeans when they enter Malaysia.
Definition of a Malay
The article defines a Malay as a Malaysian citizen born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs, and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. As a result, Malay citizens who convert out of Islam are no longer considered Malay under the law. Hence, the Bumiputera privileges afforded to Malays under Article 153 of the Constitution, the New Economic Policy (NEP), etc, are forfeit for such converts.
Likewise, a non-Malay Malaysian who converts to Islam can lay claim to Bumiputera privileges provided he meets the other conditions.
In Mingguan Malaysia yesterday (February 12, 2012), Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin wrote: “In old maps of the Malay Archipelago names like Aceh, Minangkabau, Rawa, Makasar, Kerinci, Madura, Jambi, Palembang, Bidayuh, Kampar, Sulawesi, Maluku, Pekan Baru, Sumatera, Jawa Borneo, etc, appear.
He further said: “Profesor Anthony Milner dari Universiti Kebangsaan Australia also contributed towards some historical records and among others he wrote that the role of the Governor of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, changed the name of Malay History (Sejarah Melayu) to give prominence to common Malays who were not from the royal families.”
He further stated: “Whenever he (Raffles) made a speech or he wrote he said ‘Malays’ and ‘the Malay race’ and he influenced the writer/historian Abdullah Munshi.”
In another document, Abdullah Munshi, who was from another race, considered himself a Malay. The Malay language became the language of his choice and he was acknowledged as an expert in Malay culture and the Malay language.
Milner, in his inference, among others, wrote about the separation aspect and how the Malayan independence was achieved — Malaysia (West and East), Indonesia, Brunei, etc.
Also mentioned was the migration of the Malay people to Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Malays as a racial identity and the Malay language in the Far East comprised people of various groups. Malays, therefore, were not a tribe.
In Malaysia, there are people from different races and tribes (communities), especially in Sabah and Sarawak, as follows:
1. Malays
2. Chinese
3. Indians
4. Babas and Nyonyas
5. Kadazandusun
6. Bajaus
7. Muruts
8. Momogun Rungus
9. Brunei Malays
10. Bisayas
11. Iranuns
12. Suluks
13. Idahans
14. Tidongs
15. Tombonuos
16. Kedayan
17. Bagahaks
18. Lundayehs
19. Ibans
20. Melanaus
21. Bidayuhs
22. Kenyahs
23. Kayans
24. Penans
25. Klemantans
26. Lu Bawang, etc.
The Orang Asli communities in Malaysia comprise the following: Negrito, Kensius, Kintaks, Lanohs, Jahais, Mendriqs, Bateqs, Senois, Temiars, Semais, Semoq Beris, Jah Huts, Mahmeris, Che Wong, Melayu Proto, Orang Kuala, Orang Kanaq, Orang Seletar, Jakuns, Semelais, Temuans.
I believe if the people from the various communities above such as 1, 5 – 19 and the Orang Asli communities, if they profess to be Muslims, habitually speak the Malay language, adhere to Malay customs, they are Malays, as per the definition of “Malays” as stated in the Malaysian Constitution.
They are also Bumiputeras and Bumiputeras have rights and privileges. So, Malays have rights and privileges as Bumiputeras. But do Malays by themselves have rights and privileges? The rights and privileges of Malays are not stated anywhere!
If a person who is a Malay renounces Islam and becomes an apostate, besides remaining a Malaysian, though he remains a Bumiputera, what race does he belong to?
* Hussaini Abdul Karim reads The Malaysian Insider.