Tuesday, August 31, 2010

For Your Merdeka Reading...


An excellent essay that brilliantly summarizes and puts into clear focus the geopolitical circumstances that led us into the present political morass...

The Origins and Evolution of Ethnocracy in Malaysia

Geoff Wade


The Malaysian government has 28 federal ministries. If one examines, for example, the staff of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage (Kementerian Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan) as provided on the Malaysian Government official portal website, one arrives with the following figures for officers (pegawai): Malay: 351 (96%) Other: 14 (4%) Total: 365 (100%)

The Minister of Defence (Kementrian Pertahanan) administration officers website details staff of the Ministry (excluding armed forces staff). Of the 692 persons listed, 670 or 96.8 percent of the total are Malay.

The Malay-ization of the entire public service and defence forces was apparently the aim of the Mahathir government, as complete control over the public administration is an important aspect in achieving and maintaining Malay ethnocracy.

Mahathir went further than this. He strove to create a completely Malay capital, by moving government departments to the administrative capital at Putrajaya, where today only civil servants (Malay) and their servicing economic partners (mainly Malay) live and work. It is today an essentially Malay city.

[I recommend that you read the entire essay here.]



What are you really celebrating on Merdeka?

By Steve Oh
Monday, 30 August 2010

"This coming Merdeka will you be writing something about our country?" the unexpected question came in an e-mail from an old friend I hadn't seen for awhile. "Do e-mail me a copy if you do," he wrote.

I feel ambivalent writing on Merdeka. Between the mainstream and online news lies the balanced truth, as Malaysians today go through the angst of political change. The one who uses the pen instead of the sword must draw blood without destroying. And like the surgeon who heals, he or she has to make the incisions.

Malaysia is a young nation. It is still a work in progress. And young nations need the discipline to focus on the vision of the founding fathers and the genesis of their existence even as they adapt to changing times. The danger of not changing is fossilization. And fossilization is the result of being regressive.

"In many counsellors there is victory," says an old proverb. The late President John F. Kennedy had the knack of tapping into the brains of those in his cabinet and committees. He always listened and weighed carefully what others said. That according to some observers was his forte.

It is something we all need to do. It is something governments need to do.

There is conventional wisdom that if you want results employ those who are smarter than you. Sadly fear makes people do the opposite. And it is fear that makes people treat their neighbours shabbily and governments take a hard approach when they should be more understanding.

A non-muslim goes to a surau with an olive branch and good intentions. But the Pharisees pick on this hapless politician. A Malaysiakini report says she is going to apologize to the Sultan. Why? What has she done wrong? This is an example of a regressive approach and political opportunism: the nit-picking and making a mountain out of a mole hill to score political points. Sadly there's too much of it.

We reflect on the past that we may be wiser now and in the future.

And as I reflect on the past I am hopeful there is a silver lining in the cloud. Sometimes people can't learn except from their mistakes. It is a painful way when prevention is better than cure. And sadly, some people never learn from past mistakes. Thus the saying 'those who don't learn from history are wont to repeat the mistakes.'

[Read the rest here.]

2 comments:

semuanya OK kot said...

Geoff Wade's article is comprehensive. "Ethnocracy" is the scholarly term implying that what existed in the rest of the British empire, including USA, was not the same as what existed in South Africa.

Just as the crocodile and the cockroach have had no need to evolve for eons, the basic principles of the highwayman and the witchdoctor have persisted for millenia. Might and fear continue to rule as we ride into the event horizon.

joshua said...

I would like to think that Singapore is an excellent example of ethnocracy that practices meritocracy unlike Malaysia, an ethnocracy that is equivalent to Umno-cracy.