Instant coffee, instant tea, and instant mee.Now, instant Malay!
How would you like to be an instant Malay? Now, you can. Just go and see the Chief Minster of Malacca Mohd Ali Rustam.He has found a magic formula that can transform Chinese, Indian, Kadazan and any non Malay into instant Malay.It's like your three-minute Maggie mee - "Cepat dimasak sedap dimakan". To quote him verbatim "It is easy to become a Malay.Even if that person is Chinese or Indian or Kadazan, if they are Muslims or have converted, converse in Malay, and follow Malay tradition, then they are Malays.The Kadazans if they are Muslims we consider them as Malays, if not, then they are bumiputras. There you are, the magic formula.
Changing your religion may make some sense but why change your race? Would you be more privilaged being a Malay? Well, those of you who got all excited about the idea of becoming a Malay better think twice. Just don't forget the recent case of Lina Joy and should any of you know the Eagles, a rock band in the eighties, just remember the song 'Hotel California' and the verse that goes "you can check out anytime but you can never leave".
One would have thought, the Chinese, known for their opportunistic ways would have rejoiced at the idea. Sorry mate, not so, it seems the Chinese and even the Kadazan are proud of their race and culture. Some Chinese and Kadazan leaders from both sides of the political fence took offence.Some say it was a gross insult. The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Liow Tiong Lai from MCA said "If I am a Chinese and convert to Islam, I am still a Chinese".
For all intents and purposes Ali Rustam have not intended to insult the non Malays in Sabah. He made the statement thinking it was good and a smart thing to say to Sabahans. Little did he realise that Sabahans are also equally good at making a storm in a teacup.
What he said was not entirely untrue. Prime examples of the truth of his statement can be seen in the Federal leaderships. Mahathir Mohammed, Zainuddin Maidin, Anwar Ibrahim and even our present Prime Minster are not unadulterated Malays. In Sabah you had Harris Salleh and now Musa Aman.He was only expressing the definition of a Malay according to the Malaysian Constitution. He may be right but has it ever been widely practised?
The situation in Sabah and Sarawak were entirely different and more complex than what Ali Rustam would have thought. There are Dusuns or Kadazans who have Muslim names but are Christians. There are also Sabahans or Sarawkians of Indonesian extract who also carry Muslim names but are not Muslims. There are also some who has Christian names but are Muslims. So, in the two states Muslim names are not synonymous with Islam or the Malay race.
The ignorance and arrogance of many Malay civil servants at the Registration Dept Headquarters in KualaLumpur who has the ultimate say in your status, race and religion are making matters worse.There were many cases where Christians became Muslims and vice versa. A recent case in Sarawak where the son of a prominent Dayak politician applied for a bumiputra loan but was rejected and told by a Malay officer from West Malaysia that he was not eligible for it because he was not a bumiputra. Many bumiputras in Sabah especially those from the Sino-Kadazan group that have Chinese surnames are disallowed from buying ASB. Why should the fates of Sabahans and Sarawakians be in the hands of some knuckle-head West Malaysians.
Unlike the Japanese zaibatsu, where employees to be posted to a foreign land were given an intensive course of the language and culture of the people of the country, Malaysia Federal civil service and financial institutions do not bother to infuse such information. It's arrogance bordering on stupidity. Even the Pakistani clothes sellers are doing far better.The new one would take lessons from the returnees while in Pakistan to learn Bahasa Melayu and the different cultures in this country before they embark on their journey.
Ali Rustam was a victim of his own device, a pseudo-perception and racialist belief of "ketuanan Melayu" (Malay supremacy or Malay dominance). Islam teaches equality for all human beings and fairness and kindness to all living things including animals.Why should the Malays be " first among equals"?
This is Malaysia.A molehill can become a mountain.Politicians, for nothing else better to do, like to spend time on trivialities.
Many politicians, especially those from UMNO, are always shouting that we must maintain racial and religious harmony among the races and promote integration. It is amazing, more often than not, they are the one that incite racial and religious disharmony.
They are specialists in lip service and masters in polarisation.