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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Response to Umar Mukhtar response's to John Mallot

Umar Mukhtar wrote a letter to Malaysiakini in response to John Mallot's Ex-US envoy launches broadside at Malaysia's racism.

Here is Blogsmith's response to Umar Mukhtar which although non-Malay, wrote in Bahasa Malaysia which non-Malays often are accused of not mastering:

Encik Umar,

Saya Bangsa Malaysia walaupun kerajaan kami anggap saya orang Cina. Apakah logik ini, tak fasir cakap Bahasa Malaysia atau Bahasa Melayu bermakna tak setia atau racist? Hantar anak ke sekolah Vernacular dan bukan sekolah kebangsaan bermakna tak setia atau racist?

Sejak tahun 70 puluhan yang lepas, kami pun sedar bahawa negara Cina akan menjadi negara penting dan dengan penduduk penduduk yang bagitu ramai akan menjadi pasaran yang bagitu besar. Itu sebab kami hantar anak anak kami ke vernacular school oleh dengan pengenalan bahasa Mandarin mereka akan ada peluang kerja yang lebih luas. Itu bukan racist.

Lagi, lama dahulu, saya hantar anak saya ke sekolah nasional. Apa berlaku. Di sana, cikgu dia sebulum mula kelas akan berdoa secara Islam. Orang beragama Islam memang takut anaknya dipengaruhi oleh agama lain dan akan bantah kalu Cikgu Kristian bermula kelas dengan berdoa secara Kristian. Sama juga kami yang beragama lain. Itu racist kah?

Encik Umar, tahukah dalam sekolah kebangsaan, ada cikgu Melayu yang diskriminasi terhadap orang bukan Melayu. Lagi, ada oleh kerana dasar NEP ada ramai cikgu cikgu yang tidak cekap mengajar Bahasa Inggeris, Mathematics dan Sains. Kami yang ada pengaruhan yang bagitu nipis boleh mengubah keadaan itu kah? Itu alasan kami tidak hantar anak anak kami ke sekolah kebangsaan.

Encik Umar. Walaupun mungkin ada overt discrimination (harap tidak luas) tapi itu bukan dari orang bukan Melayu sahaja. Tanpa NEP dan lain lain, pun ada diskriminasi orang Melayu terhadap orang bukan Melayu. Itu malang kejadian seluruh dunia. itu boleh jadi sebab kenapa harus ada diskriminasi RASMI terhadap orang bukan Melayu kah? Supaya hampir tak ada peluang orang bukan Melayu menjadi kakitangan kerajaan dan lain lain.

Malott painted only half the picture of racism
Umar Mukhtar
Feb 10, 11

John Mallot has waded into the debate on Malaysian race relations with half an analysis when obviously a fuller one would have been of greater service to the discourse. Granted, his piece was intended more than anything else to be a critique of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's handling of the current situation in the country.
However, in doing so, he has highlighted only the non-Malay responses to what is described as Malay racism. This is very misleading and the reason for my saying that he had written only half an analysis of the situation.

A more robust and honest assessment of race relations in Malaysia would take into account the fact that what appears to be Malay racism is in itself a response to non-Malay racism against Malays.

Yes, two wrongs do not make a right. But as the saying goes, “It takes both hands to clap”. That is to say, Mallot's article runs the risk of completely absolving non-Malays from any responsibility in the racial predicament that the country is in. That is nothing less than avoiding reality and counter-productive to any effort to improve race relations in Malaysia. Malays have their grievances, too, against the Chinese. The fact that they seldom get aired does not make those grievances any less legitimate or valid.

Education for the very young is one obvious area where racist attitudes can be nipped in the bud. The importance for racial integration to begin at a young age is recognised, so much so that in the 1960s and 70s, the US supreme court sanctioned the forced busing of students in order to break down the racial segregation between white and African-American schools. That was in America.

In Malaysia, a different approach towards early education was adopted. In concession to the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, vernacular education was retained as part of the national school system. The liberalism was well-intentioned and in line with the spirit of Malaysia's constitution whereby minority communities are given the right to use and develop their own languages.

In practice, and perhaps this was unforeseen by Malaysia's founding fathers, the national-vernacular dichotomy in the school system has resulted in precisely the kind of early-age racial segregation that the busing laws, upheld by the U.S. supreme court justices, sought to eradicate in America. While desegregation of schools may or may not result in greater racial integration, segregation virtually guarantees that there will be no racial integration.

The racial polarisation that we see so shamelessly capitalised on by politicians in Malaysia today is partly, if not wholly, attributable to that segregation in the school system. When you see not a few non-Malays unashamedly, even proudly, declaring that they cannot properly speak Malay, the national language, you can bet your life that these are the ones who graduated from the vernacular schools. This is forty-four years after Malay was declared the national language.

The Chinese community jealously guard the existence of the vernacular schools, implicitly reinforcing the message of their racial and cultural separateness and exclusivity, but yet insist that they should not be looked at as the 'other' by Malays. For many Malays, including this writer, that smacks of having your cake and eating it, too.

Often the excuse given by the Chinese for insisting that their children go to vernacular schools and for more such schools to be built is the poor quality of national schools. Surely the solution is not to build more racially-segregated schools but to join hands with Malays and Indians in insisting and ensuring that the quality of national schools be improved for the benefit of children of all ethnicities. Perhaps that is considered such an outlandishly 'out-of-the-racial box' thinking that I have never heard any Chinese make that call.

Any sincere and honest effort to improve race relations has to take cognizance of the fact that racism exists in and racial discrimination is practised, to one extend or another, by all the races in Malaysia.

However, my own honest observation is that the Chinese never want to admit or acknowledge their own racism against Malays or other races.

Official and overt discriminatory policies can easily be criticised as institutionalised racism but covert racial discriminations by their very nature are harder to pinpoint. That does not mean they don't exist or any less invidious than the former.

When a “Mandarin speakers only” requirement is stated in job advertisements, even for jobs which do not conceivably require much language skills, that surely is equivalent to saying “Chinese only”. But you will be hard put to find any Chinese who would admit that the practice is racially discriminatory.

When Malaysia's most famous blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, related some years ago in his blog how Chinese businesses ganged up to ensure the failure of his motorcycle dealership, none of his Chinese readers cared to acknowledge that he was the victim of racism. His was probably just the tip of the iceberg of similar cases.

And it's always with a mixture of amusement and sadness when I read the many comments on the Internet from non-Malays complaining about the racial policies of the Malaysian government which scarcely conceal their own racism towards Malays in general.

If Mr Mallot doubts the truth of what I am saying, he should read the comments that followed the publication of his recent article in Malaysian news portals.

To many Malays, given the refusal of non-Malays to even acknowledge their own racism, the prospect of a rollback in whatever few affirmative action policies left on the plate appears to be concessions which are unlikely to be matched in a similar spirit by the Chinese in the spheres that they predominate, namely the commercial and economic.

If Najib can be accused of pandering to militant Malay groups, Chinese political leaders in the government and opposition, too, can be accused of pandering to their racial constituency.

In my lifetime, I have yet to hear of any Chinese leader asking that the Chinese to join in and contribute towards the betterment of national schools.

I have yet to hear of one calling for Chinese businesses to assist or at least not to gang up against their fellow non-Chinese businesses or to not practice discrimination in their employment policies.

Mallot failed to take into account one side of the equation in his brief exposition of the race relations situation in Malaysia. Hopefully, I have managed to redress that and allow a better understanding of why things are the way they are in Malaysia.

It would have been more gracious of Mallot if he had used his relationship with Malaysians during his tenure as a diplomat to impart his country's experience and firm action with regard to vigilance against the emergence of the evil that is racism, than to make things worse by dogmatically adopting the attitude that sympathising with the minority makes one righteous.

Ex-US envoy launches broadside at M'sia's racism

Feb 8, 11 12:47pm

10 friends can read this story for free

Former United States ambassador to Malaysia John Malott has lambasted Prime Minister Najib Razak's hypocrisy over his 1Malaysia slogan in a scathing article published today in the Asian Wall Street Journal.

NONEMalott (left), a frequent critic of the government since ending his three-year tenure as US ambassador in 1998, told Najib to take “a long look in the mirror” if he was serious about achieving his 1Malaysia goal.

“Despite the government's new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Najib took office in 2009.

“Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities,” said Malott in his AWSJcommentary.

He blamed the recent escalation of tensions on the government for “tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions”.

Malott cited a number of examples, including the incident where a top Najib aide, Hardev Kaur, had suggested that no crucifixes be displayed during the premier's Christmas Day open house visit at the residence of the Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur.

“Ms Kaur later insisted that she 'had made it clear that it was a request and not an instruction', as if any Malaysian could say no to a request from the prime minister's office,” lamented Malott.

NONEOther examples of insensitivities, said Malott, included Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussien defending the actions of a group of residents who paraded a cow's head to protest the relocation of a Hindu temple to their neighbourhood, and Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi questioning the“lack of patriotism” of ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians.

Malott also slammed Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia for stoking racial hatred by regularly attacking “Chinese Malaysian politicians, and even suggested that one of them, parliamentarian Teresa Kok, should be killed”.

As a result of the growing racism, as many as 500,000 Malaysians left the country between 2007 and 2009, more than doubling the number of Malaysian professionals who live overseas, decried Malott.

The economic price tag of racism

He also said Najib is enamoured to right-wing groups such as Perkasa, which are against economic reforms in the name of 'Malay rights'.

“But stalling reform will mean a further loss in competitiveness and slower growth. It also means that the cronyism and no-bid contracts that favour the well-connected will continue.”

NONEMalott said that while Najib may not actually believe the rhetoric emanating from his party and his government's officers, he allows it because he needs to shore up Malay votes.

“It's politically convenient at a time when his party faces its most serious opposition challenge in recent memory - and especially when the opposition is challenging the government on ethnic policy and its economic consequences.”

The steady erosion of tolerance, warned Malott, had become an economic problem as well.

“To meet its much-vaunted goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020, Malaysia needs to grow by 8 percent per year during this decade.

“That level of growth will require major private investments from both domestic and foreign sources, upgraded human skills and significant economic reform. Worsening racial and religious tensions stand in the way.”

The former US ambassador argued that while the government might find it politically expedient to stir the racial and religious pot, such opportunism comes with an economic price tag.

“Its citizens will continue to vote with their feet and take their money and talents with them. And foreign investors, concerned about racial instability and the absence of meaningful economic reform, will continue to look elsewhere to do business.”

Comments 1 to 25 of 95

NKTG This idiotic Sundaram is not only deaf and dumb but blind as well. He doesnt know to differentiate the rights and wrongs even if the comments come from a foreigner who had stayed in this country for 3 years. Face the fact...1M'sia is nothing more than a mere blurry slogan!

7 hours ago · Report

Dr. Suresh Kumar Many of you have a point, which are not far from the truth. However, what Mr.Mallot has been writing is nothing new to us. Mr. Mallot should convince his powerful leaders, to be more pro-active in championing the human rights issues and not just talk. By talking, he may be able to convince some multi-nationals from investing in Malaysia, but what good is it to ordinary rakyat? It wil only hurt the rakyat. These, powerful western nations are not sincere. Their policies are also designed to make the 3rd world countries to be subservient, so that they can sell arms and rob petrol for a meagre price. Not too long ago, just in the aftermath of Hindraf's 25th Nov demonstration, Kevin Rudd visited Malaysia, and remarked that Malaysia is not only a democracy but a thriving one at that? Are we? Recently, Muhyiddin, was so flabbergasted that the American leadership hailed Najib's leadership. Is this not American hypocrisy? Mr. Mallot, should stop talking for Anwar and speak up for the people

20 hours ago · Report

Anonymous One gets the feeling that Najib is not a man of his own destiny. Not surprising considering the baggage he carries. How could we Malaysians let our destiny be entrusted to a man who can't even control his own destiny?

yesterday · Report

David Yee 154a Well said, John. You spoke with accuracy but these politicians are either deaf or dumb for the last 53 years. Many people are effectively doing what you mentioned by voting with their feet, taking their money and talents with them.

yesterday · Report

Gen2 Malaysians and Asians seldom talk directly and use round about language and words which the authorities can pretend not to understand and so ignore. The Americans will give it straight to your face.

yesterday · Report

Geronimo Thanks, John, for your intersting insight of the racial problems here. Needless to say, racism is strife here and ironically, it takes an American to see it, but not our leaders. They are in such self-denial mode that they can no longer differentiate between reality and myth. Although what you said hold water, but the problem is, it is like pouring it on a duck's back.

yesterday · Report

Ma'arip I always thought South Africa was the last racist country. I am wrong. Looks like we are becoming one very soon.

yesterday · Report

Sad Malot says 500,000 Malaysians left the country. However, he forgot to add that 1,000,000 were 'imported' from two neighboring countries and given citizenship by UMNO to win their support. This is a the sad state of affairs in this country. At the rate Najis is going, this country will become bankrupt very very soon.

yesterday · Report

Meranti Kepong Mr. John Marlott's comment about Malaysia's racism and religous intolerance nail the coffin on Najib's coming election. Marlott is observent and well-informed about the intolerable race relationship in this country at the expense of the visible minorities such as the Chinese and Indians. These bona fide Malaysians are never treated as equal in employment and in entry into post-secondary institution. There is hardly any non-Malay people in both the police and armed forces. The head of every government department is always a Malay and never a Chinese or Indian. So it is not surprising than more than a million Malaysians, well-educated and highly motivated, have left the country for foreign lands and this exodus will continue until the end of time...! Very good and timely comment, Mr. John Marlott, please keep up with your observations from time to time...thanks!

yesterday · Report

Anonymous_40dd Every Malaysian knows the negative effects of racism on the future of the nation and its people.But our national leaders have their priorities elsewhere,certainly not on the development of the country and the people.The hard-hitting comments from Mr.Mallot,though being well-intentioned,will not go down well in the power circle of our government.

yesterday · Report

Dark Archon Oh, and that 1Malaysia slogan, it's just that - slogan. Nothing more, nothing less.

yesterday · Report

Dark Archon Sundaram, mallot may not be anyone significant as far as Malaysia is concerned but he's just providing his assessment of Malaysia current social economic situation. One can choose to ignore this mallot fella but I think he has a point. The PM claimed he wants to transform this country into a high income country but his actions so far tells a different story. FYI, I'll also be one of those given up hope on this country. If there's a way out of this country, I'll take it. Don't say I'm unpatriotic because BN killed my spirit of patriotism long time ago.

yesterday · Report

Concern Malaysian I think as Malaysian we Must be Truthful with ourselves of all the happenings in Malaysia. We cannot brush aside of what Mallot has said. Like Realistic has said...You might want to reflect on what the guy has said...As Malaysian, we Must admit that Corruption is getting worst. The economy doesn't seen to be promising. Many Skilled and Professional people are leaving the country. TBH, Kugan's case and many many things that happen have no answer to it.... I seriously hope our government will not just talk but Walk the Talk. The reason economic situation and price increase has cause many many people suffer financially... Malaysia MUST CHANGE ! If BN government won't change then I think people will turn to PR in next GE...

yesterday · Report

T. SUNDARAM only the opp will support people like mallot, b'coz they don't care about this country, they don't love the country and m'kini can carry such a idotic article, who the hell is this mallot to condemn about our slogan and 1Malaysia. mallot should see how great is the dicrimination betwwen the whites and the blacks in US, so mallot should look into his own country's problem rather than poking his nose into Malaysia

yesterday · Report

T. SUNDARAM we don't need ONE stupid american to say abt our 1Malaysia slogan, he is NUT...mallot can go and fly kites in america

yesterday · Report

Anonymous_4196 I am sad that what was said about my country, Malaysia, is true. It is hard to say I am a Malaysian with my head held high with pride. My country is rotting in BN's hand.

yesterday · Report

Avatarista malaysian cannot cakap pasal negara ku malaysia if cakap juga polisi malaysia saya tangkap saya, bolah masuk dalam ISA(sedition act) USA orang putah cakap sekarang TANKAP ORANG PUTIH ITU MR PM OF MALAYSIA PDRM DAN MASUK ORANG PUTIH ITU DALAM ISA OK

yesterday · Report

Armour Man Nothing new said by Mallot. Everything he said have been said by Malaysians thousands of times before.

yesterday · Report

Realistic Some of you here are very defensive..You might want to reflect on what the guy said, have a look around you and determine if they are all true..I can see a lot of truth in what he said...BN controls everything here in Msia...they dont care if their supporters committed so many wrong doings, BN even protect them...that's why we see a lot of pro-BN people behave like Sarawak CM, Taib Mahmud...plundering the state resources, businesses and native lands for himself and his enlarge family..becos he knows PM Najib has no political will to fight corruption...mayb he himself is in it too...majority of BN politicians are very rich people...esp those from UMNO..

yesterday · Report

hamisu I really wonder which part of Malott's article is not true? Can someone here please how Malott is trying to dictate our country? Facts, please. Less emotions.

yesterday · Report

Apapunbolehkah? Here in 1MALAYSIA, we have cakap tak serupa bikin leaders ! Really sickening and disgusting ! Why is it they can face the mirror everyday, I cannot understand ! Haven't these leaders any pride ????

yesterday · Report

Anonymous_4007 AkuMelayu, do you know what you are saying? When u ask him to get lost, you ARE also saying, we don't want the jobs you bring to our country by your investments. Do you want your wife and daughters to become maids in foreign countries? When are the Malays going to be grateful for all the prosperity the non-muslims (including the chinese) have brought(made) to the country? We the most developed muslim country because of whom? Do you have the brains to figure that out?

yesterday · Report

Anonymous_1d56 Sad to see Malaysians conniving with a US busy body meddling into our affairs... So many times we see PAS of PAKATAN RAKYAT marching & demonstrating infront of the US embassy accusing them of meddling OTHER countries' problem (Egypt/Palestine as example). When now US condemns and meddles with OUR OWN country affairs and we have PAKATAN RAKYAT/PAS supporters here jumping with joy supporting them and they claimed they are malaysians..

yesterday · Report

Dr. Suresh Kumar Mr. Mallot, since you are privy to so much of information pertaining to UMNO's racist policies, which discriminate and marginalize the minorities. Why then, you did not convince the US govt to grant Mr. Waythamoorthy the travel papers which he requested to enable him to carry out his advocacy work? The American officials have apparently told Waytha that, the US govt. does not support politically partisan groups, even though Mr. Waytha, who is in exile in the UK now, had categorically stated that he is not interested in political asylum, but only seeking a temporary asylum as he wants to return to Malaysia. If you want to be seen as a man who speaks up for justice and truth, then do the right thing, rather than being just a scribe for M'kini

yesterday · Report

AkuMelayu This is not the first time John Malott has voiced his displeasure on the Malaysian government. And in every occasion he tried to dictate how the government should be run. John, we the true Malaysians who love our country knows your real intention. You can keep on howling John until the cows come home but your puppet Anwar will never be the PM of Malaysia. If you can still understand the Malay language, hear this, "Pergi berambus" or should I simply put it as "Get lost".


Anonymous said...

malaysia is a rich country... investor from the state who need us instead of us needing them... we managed to succeed by dasar pandang ke timur... thus, why we care about US..???
Investor that coming into malaysia that want our business not the other way round...
what he say is not wrong but what he mention also did not cover every aspect of malaysia situation...
guys stop looking to the negative things that what u want to see and start thinking positive of what you have...
honestly, malaysian do not mind if there are more to go out from malaysia and giving up their citizenship as there are more other people who wants to be MALAYSIAN....

terrabacabuku ekiosk said...


John Mallot semasa Duta, adalah ‘handler’ Anwar Ibrahim dalam konspirasi CIA bagi menjatuhkan Dr Mahathir. Beliaulah menjanjikan pelbagai kepada Anwar, termasuk ‘to bankroll the economy back to health’ selepas projek 'creative destruction' Anwar dan Soros berjaya. Kini handler baru beliau di Jakarta, tetapi sarang CIA di KL rupanya di kedutaan Turki.

“We’ve got him by the balls” , sama ada Anwar masuk perangkap sex atau membenarkan hobinya dilayanbekal orang tertentu, adalah punca kenapa Anwar tiada pilihan tetapi akur dengan perencanaan CIA – PAKATAN RAKYAT adalah cara halus melumpuhkan kuasa politik orang Melayu, kerana sudah ada dalang atau DAP bagi peranan itu. Anwar diguna buat kawal PAS agaknya.

Mengikut sumber kalau SB kita tau apa Anwar bikin, SB Singapore dan rakan-rakan pasti tau.