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My Malaysia – a Personal Anecdote

I received this through the e-mail. It is an open letter from a Medical doctor in Malaysia to her Malaysian counter-parts studying or practicing in the UK from where she graduated. I was asked to respond to her views by one of those doctors in the mailing list. I find her views typically middle upper class and feel it may be of interest to the Malaysian public. It’s a bit long but it gives a frank opinion of the PR. Happy reading!

My Malaysia – a personal anecdote
Dedicated to all PR sympathisers….

I am neither a political analyst, nor that I am a political writer, nor that I belong to any political party. I am writing this personal anecdote because I WANT to express my views and I WANT people to UNDERSTAND me better, not to challenge or outdo some of the so-called ‘invigorating’ piece of writings forwarded to this e-group. Call it a dogmatic, prejudiced, bigoted or even mindless piece of writing, I don’t care, as my view is my view and it does not matter whether people do share my view or not, because I am absolutely accountable for it.

I am just simply a voter, a first time voter to be exact, since the last general election. I am proud to be on the electoral register and to have voted in the last general election. I am proud to return to serve my country after 15 years of living abroad and I am ever so grateful to be able to breath the Malaysian air, no matter how dusty or hazy it may be sometimes. At the very least, I am proud to tell that the LOVE and PASSION that I have for MY MALAYSIA is unconditional, unlike some people who brag of being a ‘technical-know- how’, but chose to abandon the country anyway - giving all sorts of lame excuses.
For the passion that you have for Malaysia, we applaud you. This is what we hope of all its citizens.
Now let’s talk about CHANGE since people are now euphorically talking about change, about being a progressive Malaysia and so on. Change is welcome and change is necessary, BUT change DOES NOT MEAN that it can only be achieved by allowing the so-called ‘Pakatan Rakyat’ buffoons toppling a democratically elected government - through despicable act of sweet talking or buying over irresponsible BN MP’s. For a simple voter like me, who still believe in the greater good of the BN and who have voted them back to power, I would feel absolutely betrayed by those foolish BN MPs who might be thinking of crossing over, and I would DESPISE PR forever, for toppling a democratic government elected by ME and people like me (and may I remind you, that we are STILL the majority).
The term ‘democratically elected’ is being used rather loosely here. I am sure that after your many years overseas, you must have realized by now that the state of Democracy in Malaysia is seriously tainted by the all powerful executive branch of government. The media is almost completely controlled by them as are the courts, the police, the SPR or Election Commission to name a few. The electoral rolls are doctored and if you wish to protest about the names in the roll, you have to pay RM 10/- per name! The election process is suspect in particular with respect to postal votes and the use of money to buy votes by the BN is common knowledge.

You mentioned about the buying over of irresponsible BN MPs. The fact of the matter is that it is mere propaganda by the BN. With all the institutions of the State at its disposal they would be able to prove this accusation and take action on the culprits if it were true. The BN MPs realize, especially after Permatang Pauh, that the people want change! They realize that if they do not conform to the people’s wishes, they too will be swept aside sooner or later. They are also acutely aware of the BNs shortcomings, particularly its weak leadership. That’s why they wish to cross-over.

Given all the loopholes in our democratic process, the majority that you claim to be part of may not really be there. Even after all the fraudulent practices, BN only managed a 51% majority based on vote to vote comparison. In Semenanjung they are the minority. Let’s not talk of majority based on seats as the Parliamentary Constituency has always been carved out to suit BN’s whims and wishes.
So WHY did I vote the BN back to power? PR fanatics may label me as conservative, corruptible, racist, blind, ‘one-of-them’, resistant-to- change or whatever else that you can find in a dictionary to describe the means.
Now, UNDERSTAND me, and UNDERSTAND me well, because people like me will be voting again in the next general election, and MY VOTE will go to anyone who will understand me better.

I am only a simple Malay girl who was born in a kampung called Ketereh in Kelantan. My background is humble – granddad was a ‘penarik beca’, father was a teacher, and here I am now – a doctor, alhamdulillah. It does not need a genius to guess that I am a typical product of the NEP, who was given an opportunity to achieve my full potential. Now I wonder, if I was to be born as a simple Malay girl on the islands of Singapore, Batam or Karimun (none of these places have NEP by the way), would I be the person that I am today? For all you know, I would be a cleaning lady in Singapore or would be prostituting myself in Batam to support my family …NA’UZUBILLAH. If you think you can compare how well or how poorly the Singapore Malays and Batam Malays are doing, then why don’t we compare how well or how poorly the Malaysian Chinese are fairing, as compared to those in mainland China - who have come in droves to Malaysia to prostitute themselves?
Alhamdulillah, it is nice to know that you have done well and that the NEP has benefitted you. The issue is, it should have benefitted a lot more people but it did not due to the pilferage done by the BN leaders in the name of the Malays. It is obvious that in every system there will be those who benefit. The French Aristocracy was stunned and perplexed when the peasants revolted as to them the system was very good! In order to be objective, we have to judge the situation not based on our personal experiences alone. Instead we have to look at it on an overall perspective. If we were to do this it would be obvious that the BN government has failed to develop the Malays and the population as a whole to its fullest potential.

Obviously we cannot compare ourselves to Batam or Karimun which are part of a country much poorer than ourselves. The irresponsible leadership practicing cronyism and nepotism has made it even worse there in Indonesia. Nonetheless you must be aware that there are Malay girls prostituting themselves in order to support their families in Malaysia. These are those who the NEP did not touch or those who dream of wealthy life-styles only to discover that the short cut they took to prosperity has brought them to ruin. They could have been helped with better schooling facilities, better trained teachers etc. but what the heck. To the BN leader, personal castles and mansions are much more interesting than the building of schools!

Well Singapore is a different story. It is wealthy, prosperous but unfortunately never considered the need for affirmative action in the past. The Malays were abandoned by UMNO in the 60s and have had to strive for their survival. Funnily enough at the end of it all, dollar to dollar, they ended up much richer than most Malaysian Malays. This is as the average income of a Singaporean is now almost 5 times that of a Malaysian. And to think we were once at par! And that they managed it without the benefit of the natural resources we are blessed with. Of course the same can be said of Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. We were all at par but look at them now. We can continue to console ourselves by comparing ourselves to Myanmar! The lesson here of course is that if the government performs, the people as a whole will benefit. If it doesn’t, then it will tell those that benefit to be grateful and those that do not to be patient.

However, money is not the only yard stick! Opportunity and the ability to climb the social ladder is also a very important aspect to consider. In this context the Malaysian Malay is better off than the Singaporean Malay. However even Singapore is now looking at the need for affirmative action as well. Economic policies which include affirmative action is actually now the norm. So policies like the NEP, which is an affirmative action policy, are more acceptable internationally. The only problem with the NEP is that it has been so misused and exploited by BN that it has become synonymous with corruption and racism.

The NEP or the “Never Ending Policy” as it was very aptly called by a BN MP in Parliament recently will forever be in force if the BN government stays in power. This is simply due to fact that there is no sincerity on their end to achieve its stated objectives. It is NOT the only form of affirmative action policy that one can think of. After 30 years, it is high time to re-look and re-strategize.
I also grew up in a PAS-controlled state for so many years. I have seen too many, and hear too many of the UGLY side of PAS. These people are DEFINITELY NOT godly and righteous, neither that they have ruled Kelantan well anyway. I was there when they labeled UMNO supporters and leaders as infidel back in the 1980’s. These people performed prayers in separate mosques and buried the dead in separate burial grounds according to their party politics. I was only 8 years old when I witnessed that sad incident. It did not stop there apparently, it still happens only prior to the last general election - my mother attended a ‘tazkirah’ given by an ustazah PAS who warned the kampong elders that they will be punished severely in the hereafter if they don’t vote for PAS - because PAS is godly. Do you all not call this despicable act as ‘memesongkan aqidah’ orang Islam?!
When we were young our views were probably shaped by our parents, friends, etc. I was active in PAS in 1983 and I was 26 years old then. I remember that the leadership then was trying its best to explain to all and sundry that PAS’s message was more an expose of the demands of the Muslim faith. There was not to be any attempt to classify someone as a Muslim or otherwise. The phrase “Duat La Khuda” or preachers not judges was a common phrase used by them.

However it cannot be denied that there is a history of bad blood between the PAS members and the UMNO members which colors the politics of Kelantan to this day. PAS’s ouster via the declaration of Darurat in 1978 and the discriminatory policies of the BN government from 78 to 90 and towards the PAS government from 90 onwards were factors in the development of such highly emotive politics of this state.

I doubt very much that the term used was ‘godly’. What the ustadz would probably have said was that PAS’s struggle is based on Islam and as such it is obligatory for the Muslims to support its effort. Well, I might not have used the same approach but that is the gist of PAS’s call.
Now, UNDERSTAND me and UNDERSTAND me well. I am also angry and frustrated with the way some BN looters have robbed the country to feed their own pockets. I am also grateful that we now have a more powerful opposition to keep the check and balance of these UMNO tyrants. You may be surprised, but I was also disturbed when Anwar Ibrahim was sacked, jailed and tried without justice in Mahathir’s kangaroo court back in 1998, and I was actually relieved when he was released from jail with all charges drop, as soon as Pak Lah came to power. It was only recently that I find him nauseating, not because I believe that he sodomises Saiful Bukhari, but simply because of his BRAGGING of wanting to topple this government that I have voted for. Do you understand?
It is good that you are upset about the looting done by the BN leaders and the lies they spread about Anwar and the injustices which he had to face. How do you grade these compared to what you term as Anwar’s ‘bragging’? I mean is the ‘bragging’ just as bad as the looting and the lies? Well, first let me just say it is not bragging. Anwar is keen to get the general population to realize that there is a need for change and he wants them mentally prepared for it. Secondly, it is not bragging as he is only informing the public of what he is about to do given the information available to him, i.e. the BN MPs who willingly wish to cross-over. Thirdly, the ‘bragging’ is a small issue compared to the Billions pocketed by the BN. They are still carting away these Billions today through one sided agreements signed by them for long term contracts given to their cronies such as PLUS, IPPs etc. These Billions could be better used to help the common Malaysian.
It is also my sincere wish that we become a PROGRESSIVE Malaysia – to be able to live in harmony and compete on equal footing regardless of race. I am lucky enough to be the product of NEP - to be able to own a home in an exclusive Chinese majority area where only 15% of bumiputras can afford, to be able to mingle with my rich Chinese and Indian neighbours in the residents’ club house, to hold a comfortable job, to drive luxury cars, to be able to send my 3 children to private schools, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, to give back to my elderly parents and my poor relatives back in Kelantan. For that, I am forever indebted to the NEP, but I am also CONFIDENT that my children can now compete with other races on equal footing. It’s not only the rich Chinese and Indians that I have the privilege to mingle with, but I am also ever so grateful to have the privilege to treat my poor Chinese and Indians patients in Kepong and Sungai Buloh health clinics. I do sincerely believe that these people need to be helped, just as the NEP has helped Malays like me.
Justice is as always the best policy. Affirmative action if undertaken is to be defended by the yard stick of social justice. Not the ‘ketuanan’ of one race over the other races. If one is tuan the others are what? Hamba? You may not yourself have such feelings of patriotism as expressed earlier if you were a member of the ‘hamba’ race.

I see no basic disagreement between what you say and what the PR is fighting for. Affirmative action is for the poor, regardless of race. Targeted groups can be classified based on their economic sectors, not the color of their skin. This in no way will affect the standing of the Malays and their ‘hak istimewa’. Does having special rights necessarily negate the usual or basic rights of others?

At the same time there must be a conscious effort on the part of the government to ensure that the wealth of the nation benefits all, not just a select group. Distribution has always been the problem of governments while growth that of the private sector. Of course the private sector needs the government to have pro-growth policies but it does not change the emphasis on the role played by the two sectors.

For your information, 70% of Malaysians earn RM2, 000 a month or less. At the same time the average income is around RM 3,000 a month. What does this say about the distribution? Is this good?
Now then, how can we become a PROGRESSIVE, a BETTER Malaysia? According to the PR fanatics, the only way forward is to topple this government on Sept 16th, to be replaced only by them. Now my friends, I am not convinced that things are actually that simple. I am actually very tired of all the boasting, bragging, statutory declarations, name-calling, holier-than- thou attitude of the PR leaders and supporters, just as I am tired of those UMNO tyrants. But BN has a long track record and deep-seated history that my father and my forefathers believe in staunchly, and its past leaders have earned a lot of my respect. PR on the other hand, has nothing much to show except for brags of promises, as the actual governance in the 5 states hold by them is not that impressive so far. So, why do you think, that a voter like me should trust PR to rule my BELOVED MALAYSIA?!
Well, that’s why we have a democracy where you can change the government every 5 years or so based on the performance. You agree BN has performed badly. Then give PR a chance. How can it prove itself if it is not given the chance? After 5 years if you feel it has done worse than the BN, then change to BN again. That’s what democracies do. You should not judge the PR based on the state governments alone although they have done much better than the BN state governments thank you. This is as the Federal Government holds sway over many matters in which the hands of the state governments are tied.

The Federal annual budget is RM 200B while that of the state of Selangor is only 1B. Kedah’s is only around RM 0.3B. The state cannot do many things as the funds are from the federal allocation. Federal funds come from, in part, taxes paid by those in the state, even PR states. Unfortunately the BN has never been fair in its use of federal funds. It takes equally from all but gives unequally in favor of the few.
Now, UNDERSTAND me and UNDERSTAND me well. I voted for the BN simply because I still believe in their greater good and I TRUST that they will clean their act and not disappoint me. They have done so much good to me and my family over several generations (we are just simple kampong folks who happen to excel academically when given the right opportunity, not contractors who receive their projects!) through the NEP and I trust that they can also lead us through the much wanted change to become a progressive Malaysia. But I also need the PR leaders to get down to business and become an effective opposition, prove to me that you can govern the 5 states well and STOP bragging about toppling a government which has been democratically elected. Earn my respect, don’t be greedy and power hungry as it may just show your true colours. You have several years before the next general election to prove that you are worthy to rule my beloved country.
The people as a whole should benefit from the wealth of this nation of ours. Not just those who excel academically. The poor, be they Malays or non-Malays, should be assisted and the wealth be used not squandered. It is unfortunate that you wish to maintain a corrupt group of people in power as if this country has not suffered enough. They are politically irresponsible as well as can be seen by their latest antics in trying to stay in power. They have no hesitation in using racial politics and do not care about the damage they do to the social fabric of this society.
I SHALL pass my vote again in the next general election, but only to those who deserve it.
Well, you voted BN in 2008 and they definitely did not deserve it!

Simply a voter with a little passion,
Signed but I thought best to remove


lan said…
YB Khalid, as always your thoughts in your writing are nicely done.. even DSAI mentioned your name yesterday at Stadium Kelana, telling you are doing a great job explaining issues

Anonymous said…
Assalamualikum wbt....

Saya nak ucapkan syabas pd hujah balas YB yang cukup bernas dan tepat.....kita tak boleh salahkan dia atas pendirian yg dia ada pada ketika ini. ( maafla BI saya agak kurang,maklumlah saya tak dapat peluang dari NEP macam dia, kerana kemiskinan sampai SPM saja, namun saya faham hujah dia dan hujah balas YB ). Saya percaya setelah sekian lama dia masih belum dapat membezakan mana yg betul dan mana yg salah, mudah-mudahan suatu hari dia akan melihat yang Haq dan yang Bathil. Saya dulu menyokong tegar UMNO( Hanya Ahli Biasa )namun setelah melihat kebejatan demi kebejatan yg mereka lakukan...... tak cerdiklah saya masih menyokong UMNO. Bagi saya rakyat marhaen....
apa yg saya idamkan hanya kebajikan rakyat contohnya; Kesihatan,Pendidikan dan keperluan rakyat lain tidak diperniagakan seperti UMNO lakukan. Saya hanya rakyat biasa pendapatan hanya RM3,000.00 sebulan. Bagaimana mau terus survive kalau inflasi terus meningkat?......kerajaan buat apa?.....

Saya peminat YB, tulisan YB cukup bernas dan memang YB layak sebaris dgn kepimpinan tinggi PKR,PAS dan DAP.Rakyat hauskan perubahan kepada kerajaan yang prihatin kepada nasib rakyat.

Selamat Berjuang!!!!....
Shazlan said…

Yet again, wonderful reply with great rebuttal.

Anonymous said…
Dear YB,

Err...916 has come and is almost gone. Where is the list then?

I think she's right you know - that you and Anwar Ibrahim are just bragging.

I actually voted for you in the last GE12, but I am not so sure now whether I have done the right thing. All PR leaders like you have done so far are just getting yourselves busy mud-slinging the BN, rather than get down to business to be an effective opposition...

Shah Alam resident
- a dissappointed voter
Anonymous said…

Your reply was very constructive and i hope you will chosen as one of our minister in our new PR govt....
Anonymous said…
Absolutely agree with the disappointed Shah Alam resident - PR leaders should stop wasting everybody's time.

People are sick and tired of this dirty political game of yours. If you all truly have the list then why don't you just reveal it?! It is obvious that you don't..innit?

By playing along the political game of NUAR BERAHIM, you have proven to everyone that all you care is to be in POWER! It has nothing to do with 'berjuang' for ordinary people like us. People are just being used to further your own political mileage. You all have proven yet again that you are no better than those BN politicians.

The world is in an economic crisis, ask yourselves - what have you all done to help the poor people? You should use your blog to advertise all the good things that PR has done, rather than wasting your time replying to a personal anecdote and bash the BN along the way.

Action speaks louder than words. Walk the talk, don't just talk, talk and talk.

A fed-up voter.
Anonymous said…
Biasa la ni Pak Khalid, malangnya saya dah byk kali jumpa org2 mcm ni terutama nya yg berkedudukan tinggi, punya ilmu, punya harta yg dianugerahi Allah swt. Mereka sangka semua ini adalah hak mereka di atas susah payah mereka belajar, bekerja sepanjang hayat yg masih ada.

Maka bagi mereka org2 yg tidak 'berjaya' dlm hidup ini adalah kerana mereka tidak berusaha dah tidak 'sepandai' mereka. Walhal sebenarnya semua yg kita ada setakat ini hanyalah pinjaman semata. Yg kita perjuangkan selama ini bukanlah sebenarnya utk golongan seperti mereka ini, tetapi utk org2 yg tidak ditakdirkan Allah utk mendapat nikmat didunia ini seperti mereka. Itu sebabnya mereka berasa selesa dan acap kali bertanya kepada golongan yg mahukan perubahan: "Apa yg kau nak lagi ha? Kita ada kerja, boleh cari duit, boleh makan, cukup pakai, boleh beribadat... cukuplah tuh apa lagi yg kau nak??"

Jika semua org yg berilmu, berkedudukan dan berakal berfikir seperti mereka2 ini - maka siapa yg hendak membela nasib MAJORITI rakyat Malaysia yg tidak bernasib baik dan bukan pilihan mereka utk berada dlm situasi sebegitu.

Fikirkanlah, this is not about you or your family alone. THIS is about the whole country, the plight of the poor and the need for social justice!!!
Anonymous said…
This is perhaps one of the best articles I've read. Your rebuttals are indeed good and I truly, truly hope that you meant what you said.

16 September has passed; yet I'll still be patient for now. This is a crucial moment and if the promises (or the 'brags' as coined earlier) can really be brought forth, it'll be worth the wait.

When I'm eligible to vote; you'll probably have mine, YB!
Anonymous said…

I have to commend you for your patience in responding to such an arrogant poster.

Good reply.

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