Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zaid: Malay rights are opium of the people

Zaid: Malay rights are opium of the people
By Boo Su-Lyn

August 06, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — The Malay rights frequently championed by the country’s leaders are the opiate of the masses, fed to divert the attention of the community from poverty and economic issues, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today.

The former Cabinet minister said that Malaysia’s leaders preferred to “stoke Malay emotion”, instead of focusing on upskilling the Malays, creating jobs for them, teaching them how to control their household debt, or increasing their competitiveness in schools and universities.

“Our leaders always speak of Malay rights and promise to defend them at all cost,” Zaid wrote today on his www.zaid.my blog.

“These promises are really just opiates that dull the Malay senses. Other opiates include our leaders’ habit of rewriting history, instilling fear of the Chinese, and making the people believe that the Malay Rulers are being threatened and that Islam itself is under assault,” he added.

The former de facto law minister called such slogans “false and meaningless”, saying that they distracted the Malays from their penury.

Zaid’s comments are reminiscent of German philosopher Karl Marx’s most often paraphrased statement: “Religion is the opium of the people.”

Racial and religious issues are frequently intertwined in the Malay-majority country as the Federal Constitution defines Malays as Muslims.

Zaid described the urban poverty of the Malays in Keramat and the nearby Kampung Baru in the city, calling the historic Malay village a “high-class ghetto” and noting the “old and crowded flats, low-grade shoplots, clogged drains and unkempt playgrounds”.

“The urban Malays have not changed much over the years. In the meantime, the Chinese keep up their pace of acquiring and developing the great city of Kuala Lumpur,” said Zaid.

His hard-hitting remarks came after the religious authorities recently went after a Muslim dog trainer and prohibited four Muslim girls from participating in the Miss Malaysia World 2013 beauty pageant.
“They take the easy way out by giving the Malays their daily dose of opiates,” said Zaid.

“The British did the same to the Chinese by giving them the real stuff—opium—and for a long time the Chinese did not care about anything about their lives until Mao Tse Tung woke them up from their stupor,” he added, referring to the founding father of the People’s Republic of China who had launched the Cultural Revolution.

Datuk Othman Mustapha, director-general of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), reportedly said yesterday that his department had told the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to continue investigating dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof, saying action against her online video would be a “lesson to society not to repeat such acts”.

Zaid said last Saturday that Malaysia, beneath its veneer of modernity, was no different from a country governed by Taliban radicals.

He has also said that Maznah’s arrest under the Sedition Act and Section 298A of the Penal Code, over an Aidilfitri video featuring her dogs, resulted from paranoia.

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