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The Chinese dilemma

  • Talking about dilemma, Chinese Malaysians have nothing less of it than the Malays ever since the dawn of nationhood.

By KUIK CHENG KANG
Sin Chew Daily

While the Malay Dignity Congress has come to a close, it has nevertheless touched the nerve, and the bottomline, of the local Chinese community.

The racist event organised by four local public universities headed by Universiti Malaya, is proven to have further torn our society apart, polarised our multiracial country, and has done nothing to lift the dignity of the Malays.

The unprofessional and racist remarks made by the UM vice chancellor has prompted former UMANY chairman Wong Yan Ke to protest and openly call for the VC's resignation at the convocation ceremony. The university authorities subsequently lodged a police report against Wong, followed by a counter-protest by some students. As if that is not enough, there has been an online campaign urging the school authorities to withdraw Wong's degree.

UM claims to be a globally acclaimed university and one of the best in this country. However, following the VC's involvement in politics, UM's good name is now tainted, while the VC himself has lost public respect as educator.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has earlier come to the defence of the congress, claiming that he would also attend the World Hakka Conference, so there shouldn't be any problem for him to attend the Malay Dignity Congress.

Tun Mahathir might have overlooked the fact that Hakka convention is all about promoting clan relationship but the Malay Dignity Congress has launched assaults against other ethnic groups and has even proposed a resolution to abolish Chinese primary schools in the country. Strictly speaking, the congress has already committed a sedition crime.

During the early years of his political career, Tun Mahathir gained prominence from his book The Malay Dilemma. The dignity of the Malays was remarkably lifted during his 22 years as prime minister, and indeed the Malays outdid the Chinese in many areas!

Now as prime minister for a second time, he is drawing up the same plan to lift the dignity of the Malay race in an attempt to see himself through the crisis, by condoning the unwarranted utterances from the heads of four local public universities with the ultimate motive of subduing the fragmented Malay forces.

Talking about dilemma, Chinese Malaysians have nothing less of it than the Malays ever since the dawn of nationhood.

Dilemma 1: The racial quota imposed by the Umno-dominated BN government resulted in at least one full generation of ethnic Chinese students unable to get into local universities.

Pursuant to this, MCA set up Rahman College while the Chinese community fought for the establishment of more private colleges and universities to address this issue.

This particular part of the nation's history has been indelibly imprinted into the head of every Chinese Malaysian.

In these two years, the Chinese community is feeling a new pang seeing the unjust treatment accorded to Utar, which has churned out countless of local Chinese graduates.

Dilemma 2: The Umno-dominated BN administration suppressed the development of the Chinese culture in this country, allowing lion and dragon dances only on the first and 15th days of Lunar New Year.

Pursuant to this, lion dance troupes have been set up across the country to preserve the traditional Chinese culture. As a result, we have managed to produce a world lion dance king. Today, lion and dragon dances can be performed any time of the year, anywhere.

Dilemma 3: No new Chinese primary schools were allowed to be built under the Umno-dominated BN administration.

Pursuant to this, MCA and Gerakan Rakyat leaders spanning across several generations have fought very hard to get government green light to first set up branches for existing Chinese primary schools before building new ones.

There is, of course, a lot more than what I have listed above. For all these years, the Malaysian Chinese community has been fighting for their entitlements. Despite the unfavourable environment, we continue to work very hard, as we know we need to do so in order to survive and prosper. We have never wanted, nor have the ability to, take away any of the privileges granted to the Malays.

If there is a fourth dilemma, it must be that some influential Malays have attributed their dilemma to non-Malays challenging the special rights of bumiputras, and have rejected our social contract and constitutional provisions to come up with a brainless kind of stuff called the “Malay Dignity Congress”.

Dilemma 5: The Malay Dignity Congress adopted a resolution to urge the government to amend the Education Act 1996 to make Bahasa Melayu the one and only teaching medium at all primary and secondary schools in the country in materialising a single-stream education policy. It is yet to know whether the government will seriously look into this proposal, but the local Chinese community must be cautioned against such possibility.

To put things forthright, the dilemma of the Malays today has been a result of their own work. Unfortunately the Chinese community is made to take the blame.

Key public offices in the country -- from PM, DPM, chief commanders of the armed forces, chief justice to leaders of almost all national institutions -- have been exclusively reserved for Malay-Muslims. I really can't think of anything else they should ask for. Never once has it crossed our minds that a Chinese Malaysian should be put in any of these positions. So, can we call this our sixth dilemma?

Irresponsible politicians have for so long been treating Chinese and other non-bumi citizens as the Malays' imaginary enemies with the evil intention of winning the support of the Malays through undermining the national unity.

This is our seventh dilemma.

What an irony to say this is the “New Malaysia” we have!

As for the eighth dilemma, we have been constantly reminded to be Malaysians (which we always are, as a matter of fact). However, in “New Malaysia”, the Malays still hold dearly to their “bumi-first” cause. As if that is not enough, they even want to revert “Bahasa Malaysia” back to “Bahasa Melayu”.

So, who is being un-Malaysian now?

The ninth dilemma is the identity crisis Chinese Malaysians are forced to confront after the 2018 general elections, whether they should identify themselves as “Malaysian Chinese” or just “Malaysians”.

As for the tenth dilemma, or perhaps more, I'll leave it to you to decide, as I believe you can make the judgement yourself.

 

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