Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Divide and Rule" - Dividing The Malays

Hantu Laut

Divide et impera or in the sciences of politics and sociology "divide and rule" or "divide and conquer" if literally translated from Latin.

From Caesar,Napolean,Louis XI, the Habsburgs to colonial Europe, divide and rule have always been the maxim for maintaining a hold on to power or breaking up larger concentration of power into smaller chunks that individually would be less powerful and less effective.

Machiavelli in his book the "Art of War" denotes the same application in military strategy.Infiltrate your enemies and divide the forces by sowing the seeds of mistrust among the ranks and file and the generals.

Colonial Europe imperialist territorial expansion gave them global network of colonies, of peoples subjugation and of divide and rule that have allowed the colonisers to exploit the natural resources and the inhabitants of the colonies to the fullest.

For centuries European colonies straddled the globe with territories changing hands among the European powers either through wars, gunboat diplomacy or treaties.The European were masters and enslavers of poor and undeveloped subordinated territories.

The "sun never sets on the British Empire" it was said at its pinnacle . At its height it was the largest empire in history and for over a century, the foremost global power.It held sway a quarter of the world's population and almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area.It ruled not only the land but all of the world's great oceans as well.That was the British Empire at its greatest, the epitome of divide and rule policy.Today, the empire is gone, the endgame of divide and rule.

The birth of the Federation of Malaya from British Malaya and the eventual formation of Malaysia was no less the same process.

Sabah and Sarawak could have been given independence on its own and many Sabahans and Sarawakians think on hindsight that would be the ideal situation, but as much as I do not wish to agree with the British, it seemed inevitable that we have not much choice but to participate in the formation of a bigger nation to counter the threat of Indonesia's expansionist policy then.Due to its weakening economic power and poor military forces the Philippines which has a claim over Sabah was not seen as a threat, it was Sukarno and Indonesia that the British was worried about.

Divide and rule policy inherited from the British had made this racially diverse nation into a very ethnically divided country and existential policies that failed to bring to fruit a national identity.

The Malays remained Malays, the Chinese remained Chinese, the Indians remained Indians. The Chinese speak Chinese and some looked upon China as the motherland and 20% of the population couldn't speak the national language properly. The Indians speaks the Indian language ( mostly Tamil) and some still looked upon Indian as the motherland and sent their sons to India to marry Indian brides chosen by the parents.

The races still eye each other with suspicion and whatever discomfort they may have with each other had been under the lid for decades but has now surfaced threatening to tear the country to shred if no action is taken to stop the racist mudslingers.

On the economic front the picture is even more dreary.

Tokenism! Rampant in both Chinese controlled companies and government controlled corporations.The Chinese would not employ Malays in critical positions as they do not trust them and perceived them too slow and less competent.It became even worse in family run companies where all critical positions would be wholly Chinese and the lowest rank the preserve of the other races.

Malay run GLCs practised the same discriminatory behaviour, staffing almost the entire organisation with Malays.

The civil service, the military and the police force are almost entirely Malays.The same way the Malays are being treated in Singapore by the Chinese, critical positions are not for those whose allegiance are still questionable.The Chinese and Indians have come to accept that they would never be top brass in any of these vital organisations.Most stayed away.

The Malays, the leading political force had cleverly retained the British divide and rule policy and held sway political control for over half a century until the unexpected political tsunami in March 2008 which jolted the Malay political powerhouse.UMNO never dreamt they would be rejected so badly by fellow Malays.They were still in Lala Land till the morning after.

Breaking up and dividing the Chinese and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak into small and inert political parties gave the Malays perfect political control over the other races under the BN concept, probably, the biggest amalgamation of political parties any where in the democratic world, the brainchild of former Prime Minister the late Tun Razak Hussein.A good concept if there were fair play.

There are no less than six active Chinese based parties in the country, DAP,MCA and Gerakan in the Peninsula, SAPP, LDP in Sabah and SUPP in Sarawak.

Sabah and Sarawak also enjoyed a democratic split of the indigenous people.In Sabah, there are at least three active KDM (Kadazan Dusun Murut) based political parties, PBS, UPKO and PBRS and Sarawak has three, SPDP, PRS and SNAP.

To try register a new Malay based party or revive a defunct Malay party is almost impossible.Various attempts to revive USNO in Sabah was rejected by the Register of Societies without giving valid reasons whatsoever. USNO, still has, among the adult Malay/Muslim population in Sabah, nostalgic reminiscent of days yonder when Sabahans had full control of the state.

Since its inception Malaysia has only two active Malay political parties, UMNO and PAS.Both are competing for Malay anchorage but UMNO has the lateral influence while PAS is confined to areas where the zeal for Islam is greater.

UMNO, the doyen of Malay politics has seen its influence eroding among the Malay population and has to share the Malays votes not only with PAS but with PKR, a multi-racial party headed by Anwar Ibrahim, one of the factors responsible for dividing the Malays.

In the March 2008 General Elections some very disillusioned Malays even voted for DAP candidates to show their anger and frustrations with UMNO leaders seen as high muckety muck and corrupt.

Corruptions and ostentatious display of ill-acquired wealth by UMNO leaders,families and cronies had been the rallying call for the diminution of UMNO political influence.The other big factor for splitting of the Malay votes was Anwar Ibrahim who is seen as a victim of UMNO conspiracy.

Anwar could be immoral as can be but Malaysians are bought that he is innocent even if proven guilty.Majority of French people thought of the same of Dominique Strauss-Kahn who now looked more and more guilty of the alleged crime.

Who divide the Malays?

The answer is simple, the Malays themselves but much of the blame would squarely fall on the shoulders of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and UMNO.

The division of the Malays started with the sacking and imprisonment of Anwar Ibrahim seen as trumped-up charges by many Malaysians.Very few Malaysians believe Anwar was guilty of the crimes brought against him.It was seen as Mahathir's heavy handedness in getting rid of Anwar to keep himself in power.If Anwar had been sacked without his incarceration the story would have been different.

UMNO, itself, is a big factor in dividing the Malays.The legacy of political largesse and massive corruptions in the government have made the ordinary Malays lose their appetite for UMNO.The cornucopia of wealth has become the monopoly of UMNO and the lapdogs. Even the middle class Malays, beneficiries of the NEP were embattled with such idea of breach of trust.

March 8, 2008 was a wake up call for the Chinese and Indians.Both have come to realise the unrealised political power they have. How, with a little help from the Malays they could change the political landscape.

While Sabah and Sarawak were still in their slumbers the West Malaysians woke up to a new day.A day very few expect the BN to have lost its mojo and a new dawn of change appeared on the horizon.The gradual erosion of Malay dominant.

Racial polarisation has risen alarmingly of late and the 13th General Elections would see greater polarisation.

DAP would become a very dominant player in Malaysian politics after the 13th GE.Most, if not all Chinese seats would go to the DAP.All other Chinese based parties would be decimated.

DAP, which is trying to woo Malay members and voters by recruiting and engaging prominent Malay personalities failed to excite the Malays.The Malays,
other than Tungku Aziz, Zairil Khir Johari and few others, would always consider DAP a Chinese party.

The Malays, unless they consolidate before the general elections, would be divided between UMNO, PAS and PKR.

BN may still win but it could well be UMNO,Sabah and Sarawak.

"Divide and Rule" one that would come back to haunt you.


justicenequality said...

While the world is progressing exponentially, Msia is one of the countries, which is REGRESSING fast.

Msia was the 'leading light' in SEA when she gain Merdeka, but look at Vietnam and Indonesia now.They are 'overtaking' Msia.

SM said...

Bro HL,

However, if Najib really implements his NEM & 1-Malaysia policies, the BN can very well bounce back. However, & this is the main point...noone really believes Najib's NEM & 1-Malaysia Policy (especuially after recent events in Malaysia) anymore. Especially seen with the behaviour of all the Little Napoleons, together with the pretty 1-sided attitude of the PDRM, MACC, EC, Judiciary & now most recently over the last few days, the ROC!
It's pretty sad because I really feel he was turning the tide just a few months ago!
I agree with jusitcenequality's comments me Vision 2020 will be when we finally see all those other ASEAN countries that we were far ahead off like Thailand, Indonesia & Vietnam...leaving us way behind. We are the next Philippines bro...just watch! And you can't blame the Opposition for that...the BN has been running the Country for more than 50 years...they will have to answer to the next Generation for what they have done!

ayah said...

Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the other SEAsian states do not have the divisive vernacular schools to impede their progress. Unlike them, Malaysia has to deal with competing ethnic demands as well as the reluctance of the non-indegeneous sections of the population to think and act as one. We have been too preoccupied trying to outdo one another politically, and ethnically, and now "spiritually" that we forget to expand our energies and resources to benefit everyone. And I mean EVERYONE.

It is easy to pass judgement and announce we are regressing. But that happens to be only part of the problem. Look at other parts too and we will see injustice and inequality almost everywhere in our multi-ethnic and socially stratified society.

Perhaps we should try to build on the positives instead of looking at all the negativity all of the time and dragging everyone else along the negative route.

And also, apart from perhaps China, I would like to know where we can see all these exponential progress taking place. THe world? Where? India, Pakistan, Middle East, Europe, Laos and the rest of the world except Malaysia?

Come on la....let's be just la.

Sorry HL, I digressed.

Anonymous said...

In the US of A, there are also as diverse races as well, some origin from France, some Spain, some Africa, etc, they also have different mother tongues, French, Spanish, Portugese, English etc, but no 1 race want to dominate & impose their mother tongue to the rest of the other citizen & the rest, as they said was history. US of A rose to become a super-power (of cause currently may be a different story).

In Malaysia when the British left, they left behind all the excellent systems, the school system was one of the best in Asia if not the world. That is when English medium school was in the main stream while we still have the Malay, Chinese & Tamil schools concurrently. In the 60's the Chinese & Tamail schools were closing down 1 by 1, the Chinese were sending their children to English schools rather than the vernacular school because English was perceived to be the language for the working environment therefore to get a good job, they have to learn English. Alas just because at that time the majority Malays were poor & did not place education as their utmost importance, as a result they fared poorly against the other races (of cause there were many Malays who actually did very very well indeed) in the English schools, some selfish big ego & some short-sighted came out with the "genius" plan to do away with the English schools thinking that with one fell swoop the advantage would now go to the Malay because Malay was now the main medium which is their mother tongue of cause. Unfortunately because we never have the proper facilities to start with, Good Malay speaking teachers in all the field e.g. science, maths etc was practically nil & non-existence etc, basically we could say without all the necessary hardwares as well as softwares. As a result, as they said, the rest was history. So don't blame existence the vernacular schools, in my opinion, if the English medium schools were retained in the main stream, we would have less of today problem. I would venture to say the Malay would have caught up much better with the English medium schools still around today rather than now resorting to all the Ketuanan, pendatang, etc & all the nonsense.

vinnan said...

All political institutions in MALAYsdia are controlled by Melayus. The Melayus control all vital services in MALAYsia. TNB, Telekom, all the major Malaysian banks except for Public bank. Felda, Felcra, Sime Darby controls at least 2/3 of all the plantation land in Malaysia.

Sitting on top of this mountain of gold is UMNO. If the Malays are really disunited it is UMNO which have been dividing and ruling the Mats. Wew the nons have had enough of being the fall guy for the corruption of UMNO which have brought misery and stupidity to the Melayus. This time we stand firm and we stand ready to defend ourselves.

jonoave said...

"The Malays remained Malays, the Chinese remained Chinese, the Indians remained Indians"

I partially agree with this statement,quantified with "some".

"The Chinese speak Chinese and some looked upon China as the motherland and 20% of the population couldn't speak the national language properly. The Indians speaks the Indian language ( mostly Tamil) and some still looked upon Indian as the motherland and sent their sons to India to marry Indian brides chosen by the parents."

I completely disagree with this statement, on the part about Chinese and Indians looking to China and India respectively as their motherland. Where did you infer these from? Your Chinese and Indian friends? A general survey?

This is a baseless accusations that has been brought up numerous times, and I have yet to encounter a single Malaysian Chinese or Indian who looks at those countries as their motherland. Heck, none of them even knew which kampung or state of China/India they come from. On the other hand, I've heard some of my Malay friends who knows they come from Jawa etc.

As for learning BM, I agree that some Chinese and Indians aren't proficient in it. I don't think this is a sign of "loyalty to the motherland", but more of environment that they are brought up in. In most urban and culturally mixed areas, these are unlikely. However, in kampungs with a mostly homogenous ethnic, this might happen.

Heck, even the term "Bahasa Melayu" is misleading. The Bahasa Melayu I learned in school, and standardised, is based on the Johorian version. A lot of Malays from different states and kampungs also uses a lot of slangs, most famously "cakap kelate". So do these count as Bahasa Melayu, since I can't communicate and understand them? How is these different from Chinese/Indians have poor BM and are proficient in their own dialects?

Like I said, it depends on the environment. Chinese in Kelantan also tend to speak good Kelantanese. And I have Malay friends in KL and can muster some typical Cantonese phrases.

bumi-non-malay said...

You think by making some write up like this Malaysia Can Change for Beter....go Fly a kite....!! First Abolish ISA, then Freedom of Press, religion and Freedom from RACISM.......Police, MACC, Judiciary, Agong, Sultan, Jakim, Army are in UMNO Malays hands in case takut Lose power to others.....that Mentality of losing power and corruption money is hard to let go. Its whatever it takes to Obilterate UMNO...just as UMNO whatever it takes to stay in maintain their lies share of money pie and racism.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I don't understand why you UMNOputras always wanna hang on to the issue of race. Let me remind you. The chinese companies put their relatives and offsprings in position of power because that is the chinese culture of 'inheritance'. It has nothing to do with 'colors' unlike your GLCs.

So pls don't mess up the colors.

SM said...

bro HL,

I have to concur with Jonoave...many of my Indian & Chinese Malaysian friends do not know which part of India or China their ancestors came from, let alone look upon these countries as their "Motherland"! This is another UMNO argument to unite the Malays & continue with their "divide & rule" agenda.
How many of the Indians & Chinese you know have gone back to India & China to get brides?
The Indians & Chinese Malaysians look upon Malaysia as their Homeland.
Just because they do not "appreciate" UMNO's Racist Policies does not mean they are disloyal or unpatriotic. I know you did not say that but it's a "veiled" attempt to insinuate it.
However I do agree that we should abolish the Indian & Chinese Vernacular Schools. However, not until we improve the crap School System that we have now.
By the way, the Siamese Bumiputras are the ones that are still connected to their homeland in Thailand!

Hantu Laut said...


I know at least 1 Indian school mate and 2 other friends sent to India to marry Indian wives.I never said the Chinese do the same with their sons.

It is also true some Chinese still feel connected with China.I never said it was wrong. After all most of us including those that called themselves Melayus are not indigenous to this place.

Anonymous said...

HL, you said he personally knows of 1 or 2 cases of marrying overseas wife and you make it sound like this phenomenon is prevalent. What a load of BS. I personally witnessed at least 20 non malay marriages to true blue malaysian gals/guys and I would not dare to hypothesize that majority of non malay marry local.

Hantu Laut said...


Little boys may not understand 'deductive reasoning' or 'deductive logic' as they called it. If I know 3 there must be another X number of people who may know the same.A conclusion is arrived from a set of hypotheses.

Obviously, you don't mix much with the other races and have little understanding of their mindset.