Friday, January 21, 2011

Singapore Malays:A Questioned Loyalty

Hantu Laut

Did Mahathir provoke the Singapore Malays? Yes! he did and quite rightly so.What Mahathir inferred of the Singapore Malays was not far from the truth.

Are the Malays in Singapore marginalised?

Indeed, they are, but they are just too ashamed to admit that they are and looked down upon by the majority race. This can be clearly seen in the job market both in the private sector and the civil service where preference were for Chinese first, Indian second and Malay last.

Unless the Malay is really outstanding his chance of securing the job against his Chinese compatriot of equal educational standing is almost zero.Most jobs in Singapore called for applicants to be able to speak Mandarin which cancelled out most Malay applicants.The Singapore government also practised a policy of no Malays in sensitive positions in the civil service as their loyalty are much doubted.

In 1986 following the visit of Israeli President Chiam Herzog, which triggered off massive protests in Malaysia the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew questioned Malay's loyalty and said "Are we sure that in a moment of crisis, when the heat is on, we are all together heart to heart? I hope so. But we ought to have a fallback position and quickly fill up all the missing hearts if some go missing."

In February 1987 in an article in FEER, Lee's son commented further on the status of the Malays in an open forum on why Malays do not hold sensitive positions in the armed forces. Explaining that there are no Malay fighter pilots, for example, because their religion might conflict with their duty to Singapore, he provoked a backlash of criticism from the Muslim community in addition to Singapore's Muslim neighbours. The article goes on to say, "these statements represented some of the most frank public commentaries ever made by Singapore's political leaders on the role of the Malays, which continues to stir emotions among the Malay community.

In Sept 19, 1999 the Straits Time reported Lee, in a forum with some polytechnic students said "If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine gun unit, that's a very tricky business.

"We've got to know his background. I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy."

"So, these are problems which, as poly students, you're colour-blind to, but when you face life in reality, it's a different proposition."

There are Malay officers in the Singapore Armed Forces but as Lee said they are under watchful eyes just in case their religion or their ethnicity screw up their brains, pointing the guns at Singapore instead of the enemies.

Singapore do not recruit top civil servants regardless of their ethnic origin. It is a government policy in what they say for security reasons they will not place a Malay in sensitive and critical positions because they simply don't trust them. Yet the Malays in Singapore are lulled into believing that they are not marginalised. Discrimination comes in many forms, unpalatable or subtle, Singapore Malays seemed quite happy to ignore the insults.

The Indians are more trusted and many held top management positions in Singapore civil service and GLCs for the simple reason Singapore is not on the southern tip of the Indian sub-continent, it is in the Malay Archipelago surrounded by over 200 million people of the same stock.

Singapore has a deep sense of insecurity.That's the very reason it has built up and strengthened its Air Force to be the best in the region and one that can give them not only a strike first capability but also strike deep into enemy's territories. Its highways could be turned into runways within minutes and the underground mass transit turned into bomb shelters.Singapore is well prepared for any eventualities.It has emulated Israel and its continued survival would be well protected by the Western powers.

Not only Singapore does not trust its Malay citizens , it also does not trust both its neighbours.Can you blame them?

The Singapore Malays are still in a deep slumber, they can't see beyond their HDB flats. If the leaders have openly expressed their doubts about Malays' allegiance and treat them as peripherals what would you call!!?


justicenequality said...

Malaysia should 'Mind our OWN BUSINESS'! Why bother so much about S'pore MALAYS?

Does the ORDINARY Malaysia Malays better off than S'pore Malays, honestly? Or only the UMNOPutras & their cronies deceiving their own race for the past 53 years?

If you have friends or relatives in S'pore do pay them a visit and best if you can stay in their homes for a day or two. Then you will sincerely SCENT a new CONFIDENCE amongst the S'pore Malays that they have benfitted immensely from the MERITOCRACY system there.

There is now a VISIBLE number of 'Middle class' S'pore Malays who project a sense of their own Abilities without 'Malaysia' NEP crutches.

vinnan said...

Just because Singapore Malays do not jump up and down like UMNO/Perkasa monkeys in the name of their race and religion doer snot make them marginalsed. There is now a VERY confident Malay middle-class in Singapore who make their own money and drive cars which will put to shame those driven by many Singaporean Chinese. Unlike Malaysian Malays which till today have to kiss the mamak ass of an ex-Malaysian PM along with the ass of all the other UMNO leaders just so as to get crumbs, Singapore Malays do not have to kiss PAP ass for their livelihood.

Freddie Kevin said...


same old cliche..UMNOPutras, crutches etc etc.

You have not rebut HL's piece with any piece of corroboration.

FYI, I have recently had a conversation with a Singaporean Malay, who has much much more sordid narratives (about the NS, PRC immigrants and the law among others) more than what HL has posited.

From what he describes it stinks to high heaven.

Hantu Laut said...


I had business in S'pore and it was home to me and my family for over 12 years.All my kids were educated there.I have many employees almost all Chinese, only two were Malays, my driver and office boy.

Things hasn't changed much since the day I left the country, the Malays there are still way behind the Chinese in term of opportunities.

I was there 2 months ago,I hardly see the presence of your so-called highly successful Malays in the CBD.I see more orang putehs than the very elusive Singapore Malays.

For your info, relatively there is much bigger Malay middle class in Malaysia than even in Indonesia (Pop:240 million), let alone S'pore.

Ignorance is bliss as long as you don't open your mouth.

Hantu Laut said...


You are beyond the pale.

Anonymous said...

We should not compare the Malays in Singapore and the Malays in Malaysia but we should compare the Malays in Singapore and the Chinese in Malaysia.Are the Chinese badly treated in Malaysia or are the Malays badly treated in Singapore.This will become a comparative minorities studies.

Anonymous said...

In the Royal Malaysian Air Force there are non malay fighter pilots. In Singapore a malay cannot go within a mile of a jet fighter!

eddy said...

Can't argue much with Bro HL's experience in Singapore, and speaking as somebody who lives in JB and have relatives in Singapore I think Bro HL is not off the mark.

The Singapore Malays status won't change much in the near or far future as the PAP Government is and will be importing more and more PRC nationals for naturalization as Singapore citizens.This to ensure that the Chinese majority be kept at about 75% levels necessary for political power to be in the hands of the current majority now and the future.

Anyway the Sing Malays should not be our concern, they are after all Singapore citizens and should be the concern of the Government of Singapore.

If they love the way they are being treated by the PAP Government then good luck to them. If they don't, then they have choices to migrate to Canada, Australia or where ever they think the minority will be treated as nicely as in Malaysia. Yes Malaysia where they can even have their own vernacular school and can go as far as ridiculing the majority.

Anonymous said...

Hello hantulaut dumbfuck.The following is what Lee Kuan Yew said in 1965.

"And in Singapore, our approach is a long-term cone. I don't believe the
Malay can be helped just by giving him a few more gold coins in his pocket. But
I think it can be helped by better nutrition, better housing and definitely better
education. And we give free education from school to University to Malays
which we don't give to our own people, non-Malays. And in this way, even one,
may be two or even three generations, you are going to build up a new generation
of Malays who will be the equals of all the non-Malays."


Of course,discrimination happens in every country.But now tell me,whose policies makes more sense.The NEP by UMNO or meritocracy by PAP?

Purple Haze said...

A simple observation.

If the Malays in Singapore are marginalised (whatever their social "class" may be), why don't they just hop over en masse to Malaysia where they would be welcomed and given all kinds of benefits & privileges ? And I am sure that most of the S'pore Malays have family ties in Malaysia, somehow unlike say, migrating to Sweden.

This is the most basic question. Since you have been living in S'pore, HL, perhaps you can provide some insights ?

I have not heard anywhere that the S'pore govt is preventing them from leaving the little red dot. And (gasp), shockingly, there are probably more non-Malays emigrating from S'pore than Malays.

This call by Tun M is just being recycled. If the Malays in Singapore don't want to go to Malaysia, let them be. Of course the Indonesians might want to ... but hmmm, perhaps there is some rational reasoning for that. But I don't see Tun M encouraging them !

Anonymous said...

PH .. haha wonder how HL gonna rebut your point? :) Singapore malays more stupid than malaysian malays? lol...

Hantu Laut said...

Purple Haze,

Not a very smart question.

The Indians in Malaysia claimed they are marginalised, why don't they move en masse back to India, the Pattani Malays of southern Thailand are marginalised, why don't they move en masse to Malaysia, the Irish of Northern Ireland think they are marginalised, why don't they move en masse to Ireland and the list is not exhaustive.Throughout the world there are minorities that are marginalised, very small numbers moved to greener pasture, majority are stuck or refused to leave their homeland.

The Malaysian Chinese also claimed they are marginalised by the NEP, can they move en masse to China?

Now, you tell me why don't they.

Freddie Kevin said...

Fuckedumb Anon 1.07am,

Why don't you take Harry the racist old fart, for lunch and serve that meritocracy shit for dessert or shove it up your arse.

"The absence of Malays from the SAFOS scholarships and their near-absence from the SAF Merit Scholarships deserves special mention because this is an extension of discrimination against the admission of Malays into senior and sensitive positions in the SAF that is officially sanctioned."

"While this discrimination is not sparking a reaction that threatens the regime in the short term, the resulting injustices are certainly undermining the myth that the regime operates on meritocratic principles."

"Mr Lee: “It’s worked. And so we have a more homogenous and more homogenous in the sense that they haven’t changed their religions, the Malays are still Muslims and they go to the mosques every Friday and they’ve slightly different habits. The influence from the Middle East has made them have head-dresses for no rhyme or reason.”

Mr Lee: “Well, we make them say the national pledge and sing the national anthem but suppose we have a famine, will your Malay neighbour give you the last few grains of rice or will she share it with her family or fellow Muslim or vice versa?”

1965 propaganda is the best you can do.

Anonymous said...

Freddie Fucker Kevin,

It's not propaganda,stupid!It's real cold hard policies and documented fact to empower the Malays.Can the Malaysian government do that!?

I'm PURELY talking about economic policies in the long run,even if Singapore is independent or otherwise.

Loyalty issues are PETTY if you do not first address the fundamental economic policies of uplifting the Malays between PAP and UMNO.

Dumbfuck Freddie.Go fuck yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hantu Laut,

I'm a Singaporean undergraduate. I read a recent UBS survey that KL and Singapore residents have similar purchasing power.

Even with a good honours degree, I will take twice as long as my parents to pay for a five-room flat. Bearing in mind that my parents are baby-boomers with only secondary-school education. The new generation have little or no social mobility. Of course I have access to better quality education but it ends there.

Malays make up 10% of the population. One of the problems I can think of is that not many Malays are decision-makers or key appointment holders in major institutions. The community is polarized between loyal upper-middle class civil servants versus Malays with no political connections and economic means. Progress is a tall order for Malays. There is a huge gap in income as middle-level jobs are filled by cheaper foreigners. The only thing that keeps us together is Islam.

I have never lived in Malaysia but looking at Forbes' list of wealthiest Singaporeans and compare it to Malaysia, I think the M'sia government took a right step. No system is perfect, we all try to protect our own kind. Some kind of discrimination is inevitable.

One Love

Purple Haze said...


1) The Singapore Malays did not say that they were marginalised. You provided your opinion, which is your right to do so.

2) For any group of people to claim that they have been marginalised, they has to be evidence that the govt in power has not provided the opportunities for this group as provided for the general population. A good example is the Native American Indian.

3) In the Malaysian context, there is a favourable bias towards a certain ethnic group - the Malays. This is evident in quotas for entry into universities, employment, business licences to name a few. By this token, the minority groups are already on the way to becoming marginalised.

4) Why don't they leave ? Because (as in the case also for the Singapore Malay), they are citizens of the country and I would expect in most cases, have a affinity and duty to serve while not unrealistically, expecting the country of their citizenship to provide opportunities for citizens to prosper. As long as that exist, people will not want to leave.

5) In the Malaysian context, there has been a significant outflow in the migratory pattern. This is reflected in the statistics provided by the Home Ministry. Also of note, the ETP program currently promoted by the govt is actively trying to attract Malaysians back from overseas. So, there are Maaysians leaving but generally not to India or China but to places where they believe opportunites exist for themselves and their families. Migrating to a place solely on ethnic heritage is surely not a rational decision.

Freddie Kevin said...

Anon 10.36pm

"I'm PURELY talking about economic policies in the long run,even if Singapore is independent or otherwise."????

Policies that rely on this?

"Actually, Singapore's success came mostly from being the money laundering center for corrupt Indonesian businessmen and government officials," Xie, who was based in Hong Kong before leaving Morgan Stanley on Sept. 29,wrote in the e-mail. "Indonesia has no money. So Singapore isn't doing well."

"To sustain its economy, Singapore is building casinos to attract corruption money from China,'' said Xie, who ranked No. 2 among regional economists in a 2003 Asiamoney magazine survey.

1965 economic policies in the long run is the best you can do.

Freddie Kevin said...

@One Love

"Some kind of discrimination is inevitable."

An affirmative action.

The NEP is still relevant. Its implementation is subject to much criticism.

It needs to be buffered from abuse.

Anonymous said...

If malays cant serve as top officials or serving in sensitive areas in SAF or RSAF, y the gov doesnt want to put the malays into SCDF/SPF top officials? why put the intelligent malays into saf? c'mon! i have a friend who scored very high in A level and sent to serve saf? wth was that?? good thing he is smart enough to sign on for SCDF after graduating from SAF's OCS..