Bumiputra, for the non-Bumiputra
When the constitution was drafted, all Malayan thought that was the best compromise. The Chinese and Indian immigrants were only there for at most 2 generations (excluding the minority Peranakan (chinese) or Chitty Peranakan (indian) who stayed since 1400s).
First i invite you to imagine this scenario. Imagine in 8 years time, the second generations of the 6-8 millions Bangladeshis, Indonesians, and Nepalese, started to demand for citizenship, citing that they are born bred in Malaysia, speaks BETTER MALAY than many of the Malaysians, and live the lifestyle of a Malaysian.
My first question is, in what way would you grant MASS citizenship to them?
My grandmother told me, the situation back then was the same. She was a MCA member back then since Tan Cheng Lock. The Chinese has NOWHERE to cling to. China was in war with Japan and Communist practiced Close door policy. Taiwanese regarded malaysian chinese as “HUA QIAO”, and technically labelled us as if we have perpetually migrated away, like those in US or European chinese
With that in mind, the only way to settle, was to ASK the then government, British, for mass citizenship, citing contributions to the development to then Malaya/Federation of Malay Land, and swearing loyalty. HOWEVER, the native (concept of native was very simple back then, either you are a Nusantarian (from nusantara), or you are NOT Nusantarian.
The British were Prepared to Grant mass citizenship to these Chinese people through the Malayan Union Charter, which was intended to make all three : Straits Settlements (Penang Melaka Singapore), Federated Malay States, and Non Federated Malay States, into CROWN COLONIES.
UMNO was then formed to rally the Nusantarians (malay) to oppose the Malayan Union charter. Like it or not, they are NOT prepared to allow the British colonial master to GRANT mass citizenship to the then Immigrants who doesn’t intergrate/assimilate into their culture. (i use their, because the racial line back then was VERY clear. No chinese speaks Malay!)
British have to succumb to the pressure of UMNO. so were the Chinese. and Tunku was then tasked to find out a grand compromise between the Malays/Nusantarians and the Immigrant Chinese/Indians.
The grand compromise, that convinced the then local Malays, to accord these 1st and second generation chinese immigrants MASS citizenship, was that their need to be treated “special”, hence the Reid Commission’s drafting of “special position” in educaiton and economic sectors.
The Chinese back then agreed to it.
My father asked me, when then, this notion and consequences from the grand compromise ends?
I reckoned that the MAIN premise that causes the grand compromise for mass citizenship, is because of the maintainance of “chineseness” of our grandparents. They started chinese school, insist on communicating in the chinese language, live the life style of chinese. Technically, building another chinese state/province outside China. Teaching the values of chinese, reading books from china (pre-cultural revolution) etc. there is no sense of integration whatsoever. This “MAIN PREMISE” attracts retaliation, which is the “SECONDARY PREMISE” of bumiputra-hood.
If you study the concept of bumiputra carefully, you would have realised it’s not so much on “protecting the interest of natives”. The ideology and philosophy of bumiputra concept entails two big aspect.
Technically speaking, the native Nusantarians has no economic power at all. They were of the view, that if these minority immigrants, after holding such immence economical power, attempts to seize political power, would crush their existence. you can’t blame them for having that thoughts. It’s a sentiment that is common almost among absolute majority of them. That’s where they need extra assurance if they were to agree to grant mass citizenship.
The second aspect, is the “emotional” insecurity of the existence of large population of “chinese immigrants” and “indian immigrants”. There is fear of these two large immigrants group (back then), who REFUSE to integrate/assimilate (i know it’s a harsh word to use, but that was exactly the reason), would unite against the native Nusantarians (mostly malays) and kill of their religion and culture. This emotion actual DETERS the Nusantarians back then to even AGREE on granting mass citizenship to the 1st and 2nd generation of Immigrants.
With these two aspects in mind, the then leader Tunku, will have to find out a way to move forward. He can either refuse chinese and indian’s mass citizenship request, forcing them to either leaving Malaya in stage, or he can find a grand compromise between both.
He then, adviced the Reid Commission, to draft the BIGGEST contract ever between the Nusantarians and 1st/2nd generation Immigrants, which is known as Article 153 of the Federal Consituttion.
With the Introduction of Article 153 in the Federal Constitution, the Nusantarians decided that they can do away with both aspect of fearing the intrusion of “chineseness” and “insecurity sentiment” in economical and educational aspect. because their position of NOT being affected by chineseness, and NOT being economically compromised, is protected in the constitution.
Our grand/great grand parents, who were first and second generation immigrants, too, were happy with this grand compromise, in exchange for Mass citizenship.
It’s almost impossible, for a country with native people that shares common/ or near common lifestyle, to grant MASS citizenship to 1st/2nd generation immigrant groups who DOES NOT shares their lifesytle/near common lifestyle. Chinese and Indian refuse to integrate and refuse to assimilate, but are demanding citizenship. The Nusantarian natives of course were against it and they have the numbers to say NO.
Chinese and Indian 1st & 2nd generation immigrant then realise it’s “WORTH” entering into such contract, knowing that they have no where else to go.
The second best scenario, would be to stay as permanent residents, and NOT being able to gain full citizenship by the native nusantarians. NOT GOOD ENOUGH! they said. They wanted citizenship!
If you bear this historical facts in mind, you can then apply to my first case scenario.
you try to imagine, the second/third generation of Bangladeshis and Nepaliese and Indonesians, who make up of 6-9 millions of Malaysian population, is demanding the rights of a citizen in Malaysia. That includes benefits, fundings, education, healthcares, and also RIGHT TO VOTE.
They claimed that they have been paying TAX, contributed to the country, and helped the economic (which is true, look at all the construction workers who put our country into pieces).
They also claimed that they are born bred in Malaysia and they want MASS citizenship (not individual application, but MASS granting of 6-9 million citizenship).
WHAT DOES IT TAKE, FOR YOU TO GRANT THEM MASS CITIZENSHIP OF 9000000 CITIZENS TO THEM?
The Nusantarians were satisfied to grant mass citzienship, as long as they have guaranteed position in education economics whatnot as per Article 153.
How about you? (The Chinese)
Put it back into this situation.
TO answer my fathers question, when is this BUMIPUTRA’s concept going to end?
I told him, as long as the aspect of “CHINESENESS” and “INSECURITY” no longer haunts the Nusantarians.
Till now, there are more Nusantarians who found their common grounds with the Chinese and others non – bumi. That’s why you see there are more Malays who are prepared (not alot, but more than last time) to give up the bumiputra status.
But still, the common ground are not strong. Look at the Chinese guy who got punch by KFC. He hold a press conference. This guy cannot SPEAK English and Malay.
And i can tell you, there are HELL LOTS of Chinese like that in Malaysia. Genevieve Bois and Dimishtra Sittampalam can vouch. They said there are Hell lots of urban chinese who stays in PPR, cannot speak English or Malay. Many of my friends back in Kedah too are like that.
These Chinese went to Chinese primary, Chinese independant, and went to Taiwan/China for their tertiary.
Or some went to Singapore
Or Europe / US.
They never did cross path with the Native Nusantarians.
They don’t know what is khutbah jumaat.
They don’t know why FEMALE malay from Kelantan is called MEK Farhana Roslan
They don’t know why MALE malay from PERAK is called YOB Amir Fareed Rahim
They don’t know Malay people don’t go to “register” their marriage.
They don’t UNDERSTAND the malays’ thoughts and lifestyle.
In essence, they refuse to integrate or refuse to find a common ground with the Malays.
EVEN in mamak, chinese are sitting with chinese, malay are sitting with malay.
Only a FEW, Minority occasions where three races have no barrier.
Not enough to tell the massive nusantarians, that they can feel secure now about the “CHINESENESS” effect. Not enough to tell the massive nusantarians, that they can “survive” and “feel secure” about their interest in economy and education.
Till that happens, till Chinese in Malaysia decide to tone down our “chineseness” (*not getting rid, just tone down), we cannot do away with bumiputra policies. it’s too dangerous.
The exit clause of the Federal Constitution Contract is clear.
1.) Either we honour it until time immemorial if we are still carrying our ancestors’ legacy (chinese school, chinese language, chinese chamber of commerce, the word “chinese” trumpts over Malaysian in education and economical aspect)
2.) We assimilate into the Nusantarians. IE, become a malay.
That’s the exit clause.
But to put the contract to an “END”, we need to find MORE common grounds with the nusantarians.
By : Tai Zee Kin