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Malaysia The End Of The Road For Reform In Malaysia


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The end of the road for reform

by Vikraman Selvaraja


May 06, 2013

MAY 6 — As a young Malaysian working in Australia, I always harboured the vague hope that at some point, in some parallel universe, the day would come where the hated yoke of Umno and the cultural and political apartheid of Ketuanan Melayu will be lifted off the neck of Malaysians. Something was always there, quietly hoping that in setting alight the edifice of Umno’s imperialism, a new Malaysia will be born, forged not of race, religion and division but on liberal, secular and humanist values. A Malaysia where your identity is not defined by the words on a card but by the diversity of its society.

Last night that dream was in full flight as I sat in the middle of a mining camp on a remote Indonesian island ignoring the lateness of the hour or that I had to be up at 6 for work. It seemed so tangible, so meatily real, as my four-hour Skype conversation with the rest of my family who are similarly distant from Malaysia in body but not in soul dragged on into the wee hours. Every tweet, every status update and every page refresh merely poured fuel into the fire that raged in my heart.

Then the tide started to turn, first Husam Musa, then Mat Sabu, Kedah was lost, Perlis was out, the news kept getting worse and worse. The minor swings that were projected to come from the Malays didn’t happen, in fact they turned against Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and went back to Umno. Everywhere you looked, whatever the state, the DAP was winning big and PAS and PKR were treading water or going backwards.

I’m not here to recount the results, we all know them by heart. I’m here to tell you that the dream is dead. The road of reform has run its course in Malaysia and we have come to a dead end. Of course, you may think I am being overly pessimistic and to be absolutely honest, I probably am. There will be some who rise today and will probably write as lengthily as I have to say as John Cleese did in the famed “Dead Parrot Sketch” on Monty Python that the New Malaysia is merely “pining for the fjords” and that she will rise again. They will point to the 50-49 per cent popular vote victory by PR as a sign of life. This is ignorant of demographic reality.

The election just passed was the last chance for real change in Malaysia. The Malay population, who grow in majority every year, making more and more Umno seats safer and stronger every day, has spoken loudly at this election. They have spoken for the status quo. They have spoken for this political apartheid and the subjugation of the non-Malay public under the boot of Ketuanan Melayu. I am sure there are many Malays who will read this article and disagree with my conclusions, reasoning that they voted for change and I heartily thank every last one of them for their attempt to mend the wrongs of the last 44 years. However I suspect that they too will eventually see the writing on the wall in the coming years.

It is now abundantly clear that a very strong and clear majority of Malay voters do not want a plural Malaysia, they do not want a Malaysia where every citizen is an equal participant in society. They simply do not want a Malaysia that even at its very margins resembles the Malaysia I and I suspect every other non-Malay Malaysian dreams of seeing. I am not writing this to inflame racial tension, I am merely writing this to set out the factual reality. Non-Malay Malaysians simply do not have a future in this nation in which they and their progeny will be respected and treated as equals.

I will probably never return now, my sisters neither and I suspect my parents too. Many other Malaysians with the means and skills to seek a life where they are treated as equal members of society too will leave, first in a trickle, then in droves and finally in an overwhelming wave, taking with them their capital, both human and financial.

To return to Monty Python once again, this is an ex-dream. It’s passed on and joined the choir invisible. I shed a quiet tear at its death for with it dies a part of me.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
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