Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has now written a critique on the behaviour and attitude of the Malaysian Chinese at present day which changed through times. It could be summed up as the Malaysian Chinese conveniently forgotten how the opportunity for them was opened to participate in the ‘kongsi-kuasa’ coalition and have now eventually turned ‘Kiasu’.
26 July 2013| last updated at 11:44PM
The Chinese dilemmaBy Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
’KONGSI’ CONCEPT: Each side has to sacrifice something so that the other can gain something
IN response to the emergence of a Malay political party, Umno and its success in rejecting the British inspired Malayan Union, the Chinese community of the 1940s saw the need for a political party of their own to present their views to the British government.
Thus was the MCA conceived and born, led by Malacca’s Sir Cheng-Lock Tan. Although it was intended to counter the influence of Umno and protect the interests of the Chinese community, events changed the strategy and role of the MCA.
In 1952 the Kuala Lumpur Umno leaders and the Kuala Lumpur MCA branch leaders decided that in the Kuala Lumpur municipal elections, they should not contest against each other, but instead should support each other’s candidates in their respective constituencies.
The results startled them as they defeated almost all the non-racial parties. Realising the political advantage of cooperating with each other the Tunku (Abdul Rahman) and Sir Cheng-Lock Tan, and senior leaders of the MCA and Umno decided to formalise their cooperation by setting up the Alliance, a coalition of MCA and Umno.
The basis of this coalition was the idea of supporting each other and sharing the power gained. Buoyed by the success of the Alliance party in the 1955 elections, in which the MIC had joined, the Tunku looked more kindly at the proposal of Sir Cheng-Lock that citizenship should be based on jus soli (citizenship by being born in the country) and not jus saguinis (citizenship based on the Malaysian citizenship of the father or mother, i.e. citizenship based on blood relation).
The Tunku did not quite agree but he nevertheless decided to give one million citizenships to unqualified Chinese and Indians.
With that the confrontation between the Chinese and the Malays changed into positive cooperation.
It was a classic kongsi that was set up. The essence is an undertaking to share. Sharing involves a give and take arrangement, in which each side has to sacrifice something so that the other can gain something.
As the Malays made up the majority of the citizens they naturally led the Alliance. But the Chinese and Indians were not without adequate power. In any case Malay political power would be mitigated by Chinese and Indians’ voting and economic power.
The Tunku saw immediate benefit from the “kongsi” as he believed Malays only wanted to be government employees and the Chinese wanted to be in business. There would be no conflict or tussle between them.
The Indians would fill up the professional posts. He did not foresee the days when government could not create enough jobs for the greatly increased number of Malays.
The kongsi Alliance worked well. But in 1963 Singapore joined Malaysia.
Immediately the PAP tried to gain Chinese support by condemning the Alliance kongsi for being disadvantageous to the Chinese. Malaysians, said the PAP, were not equal. There should be a Malaysian Malaysia where all the benefits should be based on merit alone, with the best taking everything, irrespective of race.
Without saying so in so many words the PAP was inferring that the Malays did not deserve their positions. The best people should rule the country. In the eyes of the PAP, Singapore was ruled by the best qualified people. That they happen to be almost all Chinese is incidental.
In the 1964 elections the MCA and Malaysian Chinese generally valued their cooperation with the Malays. They rejected the PAP and its chauvinistic appeal, giving it only one seat.
The Tunku realised what the PAP was up to and decided that Singapore should not be a part of Malaysia. But the PAP was not done. The remnant of the party in Malaysia set up the DAP to carry on the Malaysian Malaysia meritocratic formula for undermining Chinese support for the MCA.
Harping continuously on the so-called Malay privileges and the unfairness to the Chinese, the DAP slowly eroded the idea of kongsi in the multi-racial coalition of the Barisan Nasional.
Despite the fact that the Barisan Nasional supported Chinese education and the use of the Chinese language, the DAP convinced many Chinese that the Chinese, their culture and language are not given proper treatment by the Barisan Nasional coalition.
The MCA was attacked for not doing enough for the Chinese.Realising the political advantage of cooperating with each other, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Sir Cheng-Lock Tan and senior leaders of MCA and Umno decided to formalise their cooperation by setting up the Alliance, a coalition of MCA and Umno.
The nation was born out of the proposition of understanding, give-and-take and working to together.
Founding MCA President Tun Tan Cheng Lock already was looking towards co-operation with the Malays when the Chinese nationalist party was formed in 1949. Extracted from Joceline Tan’s “Key roles of father and son”, 25 March 2007.
It was around that time too that the idea of forming a Chinese association germinated; and in 1949 Cheng Lock, together with several others like Tun Leong Yew Koh and Colonel H.S. Lee, founded the MCA.
Man of tradition: The young Tun Tan Cheng Lock in Baba home attire with his son Siew Sin and three daughters.
It took the form of a welfare group to assist the Chinese who had been forced into new villages to segregate them from communist influence, and it became a political entity only in 1952.
In his inaugural speech, Cheng Lock said: “One of the basic aims of the Malayan Chinese Association is to help, in cooperation with the Malays and other communities, the development of the process of making the whole of Malaya one country, one people and one government.”
In 1956, HRH Rulers agreed to give up their right as absolute rulers in favour of Westminister-style Constitutional Monarchy democratic system and accepted then UMNO President and Chief Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra’s initiative of admitting the almost one million Non Malays as citizens with equal rights.
These are substantial components of the ‘Social Contract’, where HRH Rulers’ in return are assured of the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, Malay as the national language, Special Malay Rights, the Royal Malay Regiment enshrined in the Federal Constitution. On top of that, HRH Rulers (as the Conference of Rulers) through His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong is accorded with the power and pleasure of convening and dissolution of the Parliament, declaration of Emergency, appointment of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, members of the Judiciary and essential officials such Chief of Defense Forces and all service chiefs, IGP, MACC Chief Commissioner, EC Chairman, Attorney General, Auditor General, Governor of Bank Negara and Chief Secretary to the Government.
In the same Joceline Tan article about Tan Cheng Lock and Tan Siew Sin, Siew Sin’s daughter Tan Siok Choo recalled the bit about the ‘Social Contract’:
As such, the group of seven who negotiated the terms of independence included Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak Hussein, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, Siew Sin, Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin, Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu and Tun V.T. Sambathan.
Given the diverse needs and demands of the different communities, the eventual Merdeka blueprint did not satisfy everyone.
But the non-Malays obtained citizenship and political enfranchisement and the freedom of worship and to propagate their own culture, language and customs.
Upon Independence, only 10% of the non-Malays were citizens but a year later about 90% had been enfranchised.
“My father used to say later that Britain gave independence to Malaya for only two reasons — they saw that Umno and MCA could work together and negotiate differences among themselves, and also to neutralise the political objective of the communists,” said Siok Choo.
The principle of admitting Non Malays as citizens as per the Federation of Malaya Treaty 21 Jan 1948 was not enforced, to allow for the admission on these previously “Stateless persons”.
It is apparent in the 1955 Federal Consultative Council election where the Chinese were only 11% of the voters. Despite the low eligibility to vote, UMNO provided the Chinese via MCA 29% of the seats contested by the coalition Alliance Party. Tunku Abdul Rahman allocated three out of ten membership of his first Cabinet in 1955 to the MCA leaders.
Upon Merdeka, one of the inaugural Cabinet member as the Minister of Health Tun Leong Yew Koh was appointed the first Governor of Melaka. A Malaysian Chinese is now sit with the same stature of HRH Rulers in the Conference of Rulers.
This Malay-Chinese ‘kongsi-kuasa’ relationship continued and strengthened further. Officers amongst the Malaysian Chinese in the civil service were given the due professional recognition and validation as they were appointed as Chief Secretaries, Director Generals, Ambassadors and High Commissioners and Deputy Governor of the Bank Negara. This is on top of some of the career officers of His Majesty’s Armed Forces were promoted into brass ranks.
Then MCA President Tun Tan Siew Sin appreciated the sacrifice of the Malays and remarked on the ‘Social Contract’ and ‘kongsi-kuasa’ coalition formula;
“In return for the generosity of the Malays, MCA and MIC agreed to continue the policy of preserving and respecting the special position of the Malays and at the same timesafeguard the legitimate interests of other”.
30 April 1969
Tun Tan Siew Sin
President of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA, later Malaysian Chinese Association)- from November 1961 to April 1974
Even though the racial riots of 13 May 1969 were caused by the subversive elements, radicalism, Chinese Chauvinism and racism and extremism amongst some of the Malaysian Chinese which include closet Min Yuens, the decision there on to correct the situation was not to isolate them. Instead, then the acting Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein brought the Chinese into the consultation for a consensus to move forward.
All the Chinese political stakeholders participated in the consultation process, which include the Gerakan. Only the Chinese Chauvinist DAP refused to be part of the process and continued their racism attacks, in their attempt to fan the division and hatred between the Malays and Chinese, guised under the ‘Malaysian, Malaysia’ call.
One of the fundamental policies to correct the disparity between races by identifying certain ethnic groups with a particular economic activity and power and socio-economic correction that was formed by this process of national consultation is the New Economic Policy. This affirmative action allowed the political stability and social harmony to be harnessed that enabled the climate for economic development programs, growth and eventually progress.
Fast forward four decades later, the steady growth and continued progress facilitated by the market friendly, stability, political climate and environment, proper policies, planning and execution and comprehensive eco-system (such as Fourth Prime Minister’s ‘Vision 2020’ and ‘Malaysian Incorporated’ policies) for Malaysia to reach the current economic stature. Needless to say, the Chinese and their enterprise (many of the markets and industries which practice as oligopoly) benefitted the most.
As the Chinese enjoyed better and more powerful economic standing and role, they have since decided to behave differently. They progressively started to be more demanding and pandered into very self-centered wants, instead of previously accommodating and participating as a ‘team player’. The openly and progressively attack policies such as NEP with intensity and question fundamental matters such as ‘Social Contract’, Special Malay Rights and other specific provisions enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Recently in the 13GE polls, they have demonstrated their willingness to even distort history and screw the mind of young Malaysians, back-stabbed ‘kongsi-kuasa’ and defied the tolerance, understanding and good working relation through BN in favour of Chinese Chauvinst DAP.
The Chinese Chauvinist and racist DAP leaders and the like-minded minority groups even resorted to insult position, role and authority of HRH Rulers, Islam as religion of the Federation of Malaysia. They even resort to be seditious. This is not with standing the fact of their continued open support for Chin “Butcher of Malaya” Peng and his attempt to come back to Malaysia.
Issues such as “Making Christianity the official religion”, ‘kalimah Allah’ be allowed to use in place of God and Malay bibles destined for Semenanjung Malaysia and protelysation of Malay-Muslims are specific recipes for social and peace disaster if the Chinese Chauvinist and racist decide to provoke further and demonstrate their biadapness.
Published: Thursday February 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:01:53 PM
Jailed for showing obscene sign at Queen
Royal offence: Leong (right) leaving the courthouse in Penang. — Bernama
BALIK PULAU: A factory supervisor pleaded guilty to two charges of showing an obscene sign in the direction of the Raja Permaisuri Agong and a police officer at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas here.
Leong Pei Koe, 28, who was charged under Section 294 (a) of the Penal Code (Act 674) for lewd activity in a public place, was sentenced to a month’s jail from the date of his arrest and fined RM6,000 under the first charge by a magistrate’s court.
He was also sentenced to a week’s jail from the date of arrest and fined RM2,000 under the second charge of showing an obscene gesture to ASP Mohd Fakhrudin Abd Hamid.
Both sentences were ordered to run concurrently. DPP Charanjit Singh prosecuted.
Leong, who is said to be working in Singapore, committed the offence at about noon on Monday.
He was outside the arrival hall when he flashed the sign at the passing royal entourage.
One of Tuanku Hajah Haminah’s bodyguards, who saw the gesture, detained him and handed him over to the police.
The Queen was in Penang for a private function.
The recent ultra sensitive issues in the past three weeks are examples of these intense provocations. More over in the Malay-Muslims holiest month, Ramadan.
The Malaysian Chinese must take into serious consideration that the limit of the Malays have its threshold. The Malays have a saying to illustrate their limits; “Buat baik berpada pada” (There is a limit to good deeds), “Bagi betis, nak peha” (Allowed an inch, the demand is for a foot) and “Jangan jolok sarang tebuan” (Do not poke on the hornets’ nest).
Although the Federal Government under Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak seemingly prefer to take a more centre position and pander towards the liberalisation of almost the system in favour of the dynamism of the globalisation and total market economy, the fact still remain that the mainstay of the political power base still lie with the Malays. These are the same majority Malays who would in most circumstance subscribe into conservatism and in the past resorted to retaliate when the six days’ insult in May 1969 became obnoxiously unbearable.
Tun Dr. Mahathir is again right. There is the ‘Chinese Dilemma’. The Chinese have to take stock and decide the role they want to play in symbiosis of propelling and the forward progression of Malaysia instead of compounding their ‘want list’, especially in overbearing proportions and outside the norm of typical Malaysian tolerance.
Otherwise, they have to brace for reciprocity. “Tidak Puas Hati” would be just the most diplomatic way of describing a Malay known trait of an extreme spectrum end; Amok.