First of all I would like to admit that ‘Indian Muslims’ I have used countless times. Lately, it appears to me that ‘Muslims in India’ has finer connotations. ‘Indian Muslims’ clearly tells us which country they belong to. It does so very well. It, however, probably does not go much beyond that. ‘Muslims in Malaysia’, on the other hand, takes the community to a different plane. It indicates that these are a people who have a vision and a mission, too, besides a nationality.
The same is the case of ‘Asian Muslims’, ‘African Muslims’, ‘European Muslims’, ‘American Muslims’ and ‘Muslims in Asia’, ‘Muslims in Africa’, ‘Muslims in Europe’ and ‘Muslims in America’. The same is the case in all the unnamed places, too. It will be enlightening to know what the respected members on our Forums think about the subject.
One major sore point in the area of race relations is the New Economic Policy, whose original intention to create unity has been subverted to become a major source of disunity not only between the various races but also among the Malays and Bumiputeras in general.
The New Economic Policy, which was conceived in 1971 not long after the Tunku had retired as prime minister, was primarily created to address poverty, and to raise the level of Malay participation in the economy.
NEP was meant for ALL Malayians
It was intended for all Malaysians, and not just for the Malays or Bumiputeras. As a former finance minister, let me emphasise that it was never the intention of the NEP to create an incubated class of Malay capitalists. If we visit the government departments or universities, we wonder where all the non-Malays have gone.
After 1969, suddenly there was this attempt to recruit mostly Malays into the civil service.It is tragic that the civil service does not reflect the racial composition of the Malaysian population, as the predominant presence of only one race tends to engender a sub-culture that is antithetical to the evolution of a dynamic and efficient civil administration in the country.
Our school system is not as it used to be. The non-Malays prefer to send their children to vernacular schools, as the national schools have assumed an exclusively Malay character.Needless to say, national schools have become even less attractive to the non-Malays as English is no longer used in the teaching of mathematics and science.
The situation will be very different if all discriminatory practices in the education system were to be abolished, and a common system of education for all is adopted.
National unity is the one area that we cannot afford to ignore, and the real genesis of national unity, I submit, is from an unlikely source: Parliament, warts and all.
It is the Parliament that has the final say in charting the direction the country is heading to.We must have a strong and resolute government which recognises the needs of all Malaysians, and formulates the right policies for the propagation of a cohesive and integrated society.
If Parliament enacts laws that are just and fair for all Malaysians based on meritocracy and need, more than half the battle for national unity would be won.
In this respect, the rakyat as voters must realise that in the ultimate they alone hold the key to the future of this country.
– Text of the speech by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at the Breakfast Meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre organised by Paddy Schubert Sdn Bhd on February 24,