Ku Li: Malays not racist, but manipulated to become communalists
The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah blamed politicians and other groups with vested interests for shaping the perception that Malays are racist.
The veteran Umno leader said increasing racial strife and discord caused by political parties and other groups have resulted in Malays becoming more “communalist” in nature.
The founder and president of the newly launched movement Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) said that Malays were not “racist” in nature.He pointed out that Amanah’s goal was to push for racial unity, good governance and respect for the federal constitution.
“I will personally go to every corner of this country of ours (and I would ask you to come along with me) to bring down the barriers of suspicion, discord and insensitivities,” he said today at the official launch of Amanah. “I know that the Malays — and other communities — are not “racists” but the Malays and the others are becoming communalists because they have been manipulated by parties with vested interests.”
The Kelantan prince said that Islam forbade Malays from behaving in either a racist or communalistic manner, saying that such practices was a regression back to the Arab age of “Jahilliah” (Ignorance).
“To the Malays such behaviour and attitude of mind is totally against the teachings of Islam. And when the Malays become less Islamic they tend towards ‘racialism’, going back to the age of jahilliah, the age of ignorance before Prophet Muhammad preached against that ‘jahilliahism’,” said Tengku Razaleigh.
The Gua Musang MP said that he was “alarmed” at the worsening state of race relations, claiming that there were “direct” efforts by some quarters to “damage” the country’s national institutions for personal gain. He did not elaborate on who the “political parties and groups with vested interests” were.
“The time is now, my friends and I myself unconditionally reject the high level of corruption that is happening as well as racial discord . . . in Malaysia’s history there has never been a situation more necessary for us to stand to together to oppose this,” he said.
“This is the time for the silent majority to voice out their concerns. We cannot wait any longer to bring back our country to its rightful path. We must do something and we must do it now!” exclaimed Tengku Razaleigh.
The diminutive Umno politician stressed that his movement would “stand firm” to combat corruption, cronyism, and fiscal wastage, saying equal socio-economical development of all people regardless of race was “urgently” needed.
Amanah at present consists of six deputy presidents — former Sarawak deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem, former MCA president and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, former Tourism Minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam, Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing and Datuk Seri Bujang Ulis.
Its central council includes seven vice-presidents — PAS member Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Dr Patau Rubis, Ong Hock Siew, Datuk Mohd Azmi Razak, former Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan, former Suhakam president Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, and Mohd Lukhman Ghani.
The group seeks to revive the spirit of nationalism and the legacy of the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, a fervent believer and proponent of racial unity.
The objectives of Amanah are to ensure national stability and peace; to acknowledge, affirm and respect the sovereignty of all Malaysian states consistent with the principles of federalism; to ensure that national institutions respect and uphold the law, democratic principles, rights and universal values.
It aims to push for a “transparent, accountable, competent and clean” government administration as well as an economic policy that can help achieve and sustain a “high standard of living” for Malaysians based on justice and fairness.
Tengku Razaleigh had once led Semangat 46 after Umno was declared illegal in 1988 arising from his unsuccessful bid for the party presidency then held by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but has since rejoined the ruling Malay party. He has tried to contest against Datuk Seri Najib Razak but could not get enough nominations.
The long-serving MP of Gua Musang still commands respect among Umno and other political parties, who see him as a potential prime minister despite his age.