REACTION TO MAHATHIR'S REMARKS
In Singapore, we don't kowtow
I READ with concern Tuesday's report, 'Malaysian Malays might kowtow to others if...', in which former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad claims that even though Malay Singaporeans enjoy the benefits of a more developed country, they have to 'terbongkok-bongkok' (kowtow) to others.
Tun Dr Mahathir could have been more sensitive towards the feelings of Singapore Malays.
As a Malay Singaporean living and working peacefully with fellow Singaporeans of all races, I cannot agree with what he said.
Singapore's leaders worked hard for many years to achieve racial harmony, tolerance and understanding among Singaporeans. Today, we live and work together as one family; and we have reaped the rewards of being one of the safest and most developed nations in the world.
While Dr Mahathir's opinion on Malay Singaporeans enjoying the benefits of a developed country is spot-on, we have never kowtowed to others. Singaporeans of all races, including Malays, engage in healthy debate and discussions with our Government. The decisions made by the Government, after hearing feedback from its people, are respected as we trust it is in the best interests of all Singaporeans.
Through community support and hard work, Malay students in Singapore have bettered their results in various national examinations. Such achievements are celebrated by all Singaporeans.
With better education, Malay Singaporeans have achieved a better lifestyle for their families compared with a large percentage of Malays in Malaysia. We worked hard to be where we are today and in no way kowtow to anyone to gain success. Meritocracy remains the benchmark of our society. While this works in Singapore, it may not work in Malaysia.
Having many relatives, friends and business associates of all races in Malaysia requires me to travel frequently across the Causeway. Over the years, I have seen and learnt that for the minority to succeed in Malaysia, they need to kowtow to others.
The irony is that many ordinary Malaysian Malays who have no connections, or fail to share their potential success with the 'right' people, will never have it easy to succeed. Perhaps, favouritism, cronyism and bribery are problems Dr Mahathir may want to address in his country.
As for me, a Malay Singaporean, I would like to say thank you to my Singapore leaders. You have made Singapore the best place to live peacefully in for me and my family.
'Like others, Malay Singaporeans work hard for the benefits in a meritocratic system.'
MR AHMAD ABU BAKAR: 'I strongly object to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks. Like others, Malay Singaporeans work hard for the benefits in a meritocratic system. They are not born with a crutch of ethnic rights, quotas and 'unfair' opportunities. When Singapore Malays graduate from universities as doctors, engineers and scientists, they can hold their heads as high as the others, because they have done so by their own hard work and merit.'
'The Malays in Singapore stand shoulder to shoulder with other Singaporeans.'
MR NIAZ MOHAMED: 'The prosperity of Singapore is proof enough of its internal stability achieved through excellent inter-racial and inter-religious harmony. A non-Muslim can visit any mosque in Singapore where he will not only be welcomed with hospitality, but also given a guided tour. Similarly, any person may visit any house of worship if he is modestly attired and receive the same hospitality. The Malays in Singapore have made great strides in all areas and stand shoulder to shoulder with other Singaporeans.'
'Singaporeans of all ethnic backgrounds have come a long way since 1965.'
MR JEFFREY LAW: 'Most people will dismiss Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks as merely political rhetoric. Singaporeans of all ethnic backgrounds have come a long way since 1965, having embraced the system of meritocracy in all aspects: education, employment and social standing. Most important, our ability to be a developed country within such a short time is due to the concerted effort and sacrifices of all Singaporeans - Chinese, Malays, Indians and others.'
Source: REACTION TO MAHATHIR'S REMARKS - In Singapore, we don't kowtow