Who is provoking whom?

Richard Wee considers the latest remarks of Ahmad Mahayuddin Abd Manaf of the cow head infamy and tries an experiment in empathy.
“Its proven historically that this is Tanah Melayu. Others are categorised as second class citizens,” Ahmad Mahayuddin Abd Manaf told reporters.

This is a typical passage from Ahmad who is quoted in the Malaysian Insider, he being one of the 6 charged for the now infamous cow-head incident.

Let us briefly consider his assertion. Ahmad suggests that he draws support from history to justify his claim for racial supremacy. Since this land was once known as ‘Tanah Melayu’, therefore as a Malay he is entitled to claim supremacy. He suggests that all other races being migrants are 2nd class forgetting completely that except for the Orang Asli, even the Malays are migrants from the isles of Indonesia.

But why stop at just ‘Tanah Melayu’? Why not take it further back? One of the leading theories on the spread of the Homo Sapien in this region can be found at www.sabrizain.org where he sets out on his website the thrust of which is:

“Anthropologists trace the home of the malay race to the Northwest part of Yunan, in China”.

So, if both the Malays and Chinese shared common ancestors, that would make us long distance relatives instead of two mutually exclusive races from different planets in the solar system. Science are consistent that there is no ‘racial gene‘ inherent in us.

This may be a revelation for the cow head protestors.

Ahmad is also relying on the ‘I-came-to-this-land-before-you’ argument to lay claim as the supreme race of the Land. But it is not in dispute that the Orang Asli were here before the Malays. If that is the case, using Ahmad’s simplistic deductive logic the Orang Asli should be supreme. There is little merit to this argument except perhaps amongst children who have yet to go to school.

Ahmad’s remark is one potent amongst a host of others why Malaysia must move away from racial issues in their engagement on political issues or viewing issues through a racial lens. His attitude may be highly relevant in the jungles of 14th century Malaya but certainly not the 21st century Malaysia. I have no trouble with the Federal Constitution preserving the rights of the Malays. However my respect for those rights is directly related to the manner in which Malays exercise those rights. If they do so in the spirit of nation building and bona fide in the interest of all the communities, I do not have an issue with it. But if they do so to provoke and anger the other races by, for example, telling us to go back to ‘your country’, then surely they should be prevented from exercising it as severely as possible.

Ahmad should consider how he would feel if the Orang Asli told him, ‘It is proven historically that this is Tanah Orang Asli. Others including the Malays are second class citizens.’ Then perhaps he would know it feels to be in our shoes when we have to listen to such drivel.

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Posted on 10 December 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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