27/09/2021
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The need for a Parti Melayu Progresif

By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

Umno has nowhere to go. It was once the champion of progressive and modern Malay thinking but it is now the bastion of crooks and professional political jumpers.

Once Umno was the lifeline of Malaysia, but now it is a hindrance to dignity, respect and compassion for all Malaysians.

Umno is now split four ways and none of the factions shows any kind of a progressive and global thinking concept of ‘ketuanan Melayu’.

I have always said that I have no issue at all with the ketuanan Melayu concept, but my contention has always been what kind of Melayu should be a Tuan?

Now, we have PAS as another ketuanan Melayu-Islam in the picture.

It was once a progressive Islamic welfare nation construct but now it is just another money-grabbing kampung Melayu ulu construct.

Its Islamic values went from justice for all mankind to wealth for PAS MPs and Muslim cronies only.

Neither parties of ketuanan Melayu can offer a formula for Malaysia and the Malays to prosper in the next 30 or 50 years.

We don’t have to talk about PPBM because it started from nowhere with no ideals at all and it is not going anywhere as it does not command any grassroots strength.

It is just an expediency party created by Tun M as a tool to win the small war of GE14.

There are many in civil society who think that a few independent candidates can make a difference by winning and changing policies from the cabinet seat or even in Parliament.

I am 100% skeptical that any real and meaningful change can occur through the political process in this manner of thinking.

The ICERD and Rome Statute incident taught me that if the ground does not change, no policies will be able to change anything in Malaysia. The key is the Malay ground.

Tun M managed to convince at least 30% of Malays to swing and defeat Umno. But, at that time PAS was just playing as a vote divider.

The combination of Umno and PAS with a conservative Malay mindset of uneducated Malays with highly educated Malays, both who cannot think critically will ensure victory for this sorry kind of politics and economic construct that we see in the present.

Thus, I believe that there must be another entity of a Malay political party or an NGO that must change the mindset of the educated Malays into a golden future of a Global Melayu and not just a Tempurung Melayu.

Umno, PAS and Bersatu are the Tempurung Melayu. They cannot see the wider world. They cannot think outside the tempurung. They tell Melayu to be safe in the tempurung Melayu and the Mangkuk Islam so that all of them can be Tuan Melayu and go straight to Heaven.

Their principle is that let the non-Muslims work and pay taxes and we use these taxes to enrich the Malays because only Malays are deserving as they are the Tuan Tanah Melayu.

So, Tempurung Melayu do not have to think critically, do not have to innovate, do not have to lift a finger to work because they own Tanah Melayu. Let Sabah and Sarawak with their oil and logging also serve the Tuan Melayu and thus, the formula is complete.

I wish that Malays can be changed from the Tempurung Melayu to a Global Melayu. How can this happen? What are the foundation principles that will govern this entity that I will call Parti Melayu Progresif? What is the characteristic of a Progressive Melayu?

The foundation of this PMP lies in the long history of Malay civilization. In the days of Sri Vijaya, Majapahit and of other Kingdoms prior to Islam, Malays were a cosmopolitan and a global entity. The great thoughts of Buddhism and Hinduism formed the mind frames that constructed a global power that could accommodate myriads of cultures, faiths and peoples.

Ramli Ibrahim epitomizes this 3,000-year-old construct. Listening to him talk about the higher art and spirituality within the frames of Hindu philosophy, one can find a cosmos of learning, awareness and understanding.

Present conservative Malays, including academics of a public university in Johor, have no appreciation of this kind of discourse because they are all Professor Tempurung who dare not think beyond their shallow Melayu Tempurung and narrow Islamic education of kampung ustaz.

They do not know that Hang Tuah learned 12 languages and that the Malay language of old comprised words adopted from nine different peoples spread throughout the whole world.

The second foundation of PMP is something that my friend Tawfik Tun Dr. Ismail presents.

He is a progressive thinking corporate personality with the diplomacy of the Malay aristocracy. Most of the Mahathirian Umno are just street gangsters with the morality and mannerism of kaki pukul or street hustler.

Tawfik was educated in the best of the Western traditions and understands the foundation of our Constitution that his father had forged with the early Umno leaders of the first generation.

The Malaysian Constitution was forged within the best spirit of a modern, progressive and tolerant social construct but now it is on the verge of being cannibalized by Barsatu-Umno and Talibanized by a gang of religious fanatics and extremist.

Third, the PMP must be built on the foundation of a progressive Islam that is compassionate, inclusive, moderate and accepting of all.

Islam is a great ideological construct that brings in elements of spirituality alongside the socioeconomic and political framework of modern living.

The early models of the Islamic Reformation stood for all these aspects but unfortunately, those same NGOs like ABIM and IKRAM have become a weak and conservative force.

The glory days of the International Islamic University and ISTAC that spearheaded the academic foundation of humanizing politics and society through a wide, critical and inclusive Islam are long forgotten and now the two institutions have become a student factory and a classroom discourse seminary that has no impact whatsoever to be opinion-makers and thought leaders.

The PMP must convince the Malays that to be out of the tempurung will be the best thing that will create a future generation that is hardy, innovative and entrepreneurial at the global scene.

The new Malays will also be the Nobel Laureate peacemakers by bridging the Islamic World with the other countries.

If China can build bridges to join the world into one single transport system, the New Malays will be the bridges between peoples, spirituality and civilization.

The New Malays will also create new vaccines and technology to conquer the world market and the respect and admiration of all.

The PMP must present plans to thrust the New Malays into the global scenario and leave the narrow socio-political and economic construct of a small Malaysia.

Are there Malays out there that can rise with the likes of Tawfik, Ramli and I to storm the Tempurung Melayu and changed the new generation into a Global Melayu that is unfearful of challenges but will become creators of ideas and change?

(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)

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