Sunday, December 02, 2007

Race Riots Irony

Malaysia and Singapore has lived in irony since 1964. Why so? Because in that year, two race riots occurred in Singapore - one in July and a second in September. Singapore was then a part of Malaysia. While Malaysia's then DPM Tun Abdul Razak blamed Indonesia and the Communists for these disturbances, Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and some foreign observers blamed Malay supremacist, Syed Jaafar Albar and some elements of the ultra-nationalist faction of UMNO.

History followed up these disturbances with yet another riot, this time in Malaysia, on May 13, 1969. Historians have judged that these 1969 riots were connected to those of 1964, and the reasons for them were similar - conflict between the Chinese and Malay races. Malaysia has sought to solve these problems all these years by implementing its Bumiputra policy - the policy of affirmative action (i.e. positive discrimination) in favour of the majority Malay race. Everything seemed to have been settled, with relative peace for 40 years, until just a few weeks ago, following on demonstrations to protest corruption in government at the highest levels. This time, the minority Indians (mostly Tamils) took to the streets to vent their frustration at the Bumiputra policy which has prevented the race from moving on and up in the Malaysian economy. This is 1964 and 1969 all over again, except it is now an India-Malay conflict.

All of which goes to show that the Bumiputra policy has been an abject and total FAILURE. All these many years, the UMNO and the Malays have been pulling wool over their own eyes and assumed that their Bumiputra policy had been the magic bullet that has brought about peace and harmony. So proud are they of this policy that, 40 years after it was started, they still claim that it has not fulfilled its objectives. The Malays just want their privileges to continue on and on. But who are they kidding? The recent show of anger from its minority Indian race demonstrates that Malaysia is no nearer resolving the problems that first exploded in 1964. That all this while, the Malays and UMNO have just been sitting on a time bomb which they hoped has stopped timing. How wrong they were and how wrong they still are now.

Unless Malaysia addresses the discrimination that is the Bumiputra policy, Malaysia will not move a single steps towards long term peace and harmony. The volcano will erupt again.

Hindraf Rally Reports