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Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

The purpose of my essay is nevertheless to discuss matters that reside in nationalism among multicultural, multiethnic citizens of Malaysia. But before we can involve ourselves into those matters, it is imperative that we understand the meaning of terms such as nation, state, nation-state and nationalism. Some other terms that would relate with sub ect of discussion may also need to be clarified. !nd to truly understand the situation in Malaysia, "#ll also write briefly about the Malaysian government and maybe to a greater e$tent, politics of Malaysia. Bear that my %nowledge of philosophical idea, politic and government system in Malaysia are somewhat limited to an e$tent of a period of &' years in Malaysia as a %id and medical student in "ndonesia for the past ( ) years. "t wasn#t until recently that " am aware of the many scandals residing in Malaysia. But, "#ll present my ideas and opinion in a way to ma%e you see it in my perspective.


*hat is nation+ "n our everyday use, nation can be referred simply as country. "n principle, the true definition is far from that. ,ation is in fact a set of people that share a uni-ue identity. "dentity that is uni-ue only to that particular group. Such identity could be .one of/ or a .few combination of/ the following entities0 culture, ethnic, language, ancestry, religion, lifestyle and political idea. ,ationalism that we often hear of is the behavior, feelings and actions that is related toward our consciousness of the nation that we belong to. *hen a layman spea%s of state, he almost always refers to a territory being a subregion of a certain country. "n principle, state refers to the governing body of a certain territory and the people within that border. The governing body should have no other e$ternal control 1sovereign2 and it should be ac%nowledged by the people that are governed 1citizens2. Some countries use the word .State/ as a title of their sub-territory or sub-region. 3enceforth, State referring to sub-region will be written as .State/ with capital .S/ while state referring to governing body will be written as .state/ with noncapital .s/. Malaysia consists of &4 States. The reason why it is called State instead of any other nomenclature is the same reason why State is called State in 5nited States of !merica. *hen Malaysia was founded, the government of the State 1State-government2 is given power to govern matters that reside internally within the State itself. Their control over such matters is so absolute that not even the central6federal government is allowed to interfere. Matters that involve the country and foreign matters are handled by the federal government. This division of power is called .federalism/ and the purpose is nevertheless to limit the power of a single organization. This system protects the rights of the citizens and is practiced in many countries including recently0 "ndonesia. So what is a nation-state then+ Briefly no country can be classified as an absolute nation-state. "f given a scale of & to &7, " would definitely give a ' to 8apan as being the most ideal nation-state in the world. The 8apanese people share a single nation and a (

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

single state. The present of minorities of 8apanese citizens which are non-members of the nation are the reason as to why we cannot classify 8apan as an absolute nation-state. Multination-state is a country with multiple nations ruled under a single government. The most recognize as multination-state country is probably Belgium.


,ationalism is not a synonym of patriotism. 9atriotism should be distinguished from nationalism in the sense that the former are more associated toward love for the country. Therefore patriot only applies to citizens. :f course not all citizens are truly patriots. But, " believe that any man must have little if not much patriotism toward his country. The -uestion is ust how much of allegiance he pledged toward his country. Same goes for nationalism. *hich group he is in is determine by which group he feels that he mostly belongs to. 5nli%e patriots, a person can have a sense of nationalism in more than one nation. ;or e$ample a Muslim-Malay can group himself among Malays and also as member of .The 5mmah/ 1Muslims2. <et say that he is more attached to "slam and less attached to his ethnicity. Therefore we can say that his allegiance is more toward "slam. 3ence, his sense of nationalism is more toward his religion rather than his race. The distinction between nationalism and patriotism has long been sub ect of debates and arguments. Some view nationalism and patriotism as similar terms that only differ in degree. They perceive nationalism as an e$treme sense of patriotism and thus, patriotism as a milder sense of nationalism. "n fact the differences are so unclear that every time we want to say anything using those words, we have to define the meaning beforehand0 to prevent misunderstanding. Therefore, before we indulge ourselves into the ma or topic of this essay, it is imperative that we %now the differences. ;rom the light of my comprehension, nationalism and patriotism are distinct in ( ways. Who are the one practicing nationalism and patriotism? ,ationalism is practice by members of the nation as define earlier while patriotism is practiced by citizens that view themselves as part of a single civic community. What do nationalist and patriots fight for? ,ationalist beyond doubt, fight for supremacy, prestige 1as oppose to humiliation2, ac%nowledgement, sovereignty 1no e$ternal power2 and unity. ,ation-state is the most ideal country for any nationalist. They believe that their nation deserve their own government. They also fight for prestige and survival0 of the identity and the members of

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

the nation itself. 9atriots fight for the rights of every citizen 1life, freedom, pursuit of happiness2, the system that governs them 1provided that the government serve the purpose2 and the country itself 1territory2. What are the core values that limits and define the boundaries of nationalist action? ;or a nationalist are obsess in fighting for his cause, there is no definite boundary at all. Search of supremacy can e$tend into dominancy. Search of prestige can e$tend into achieving the title of greatness. They also loo% for ac%nowledgement by the entire world community. The achievement of other nation would result in ealousy. Moral, ethic, right and wrong are sub ective to their own interpretation. Moreover, right is not always right on the opposing side. There are two %inds of ustice0 chaotic and lawful. ;or e$ample, a starving = year old orphan steals food. "s that right+ <egally its not, but how do we human view it considering his situation+ "f a person believed that the child is doing the right thing, his6her reasoning is based on chaotic udgment. ,ationalism is more toward that %ind of ustice. Then again, in e$treme nationalism they might lose their sense of ustice at all. They actually believe what they are doing is right even though it is clear that they are wrong. The reason for that0 is that they actually do not reason at all. :nce they set their mind on something, they will do everything in their power to achieve it. Besides that, unified voice is very important to show their unity. *ho is that voice+ ,ationalist view anyone who opposes their leader as an act of treason. ,ationalist often ma%e use of propaganda to present their ideas to members of the nation. The most e$treme of nationalist would most probably be !dolph 3itler. 3e was e$tremely obsessed with the idea of nation-state that he viewed dominancy of Master >ace as an honorable purpose and of divine cause for his nation. 3e ordered genocide act on ?uropean 8ews. Millions of men, women and child died in concentration camp while some which are more fortunate were rendered infertile. What are the core values that limits and define the boundaries of patriots action? <ove for the country. The statement does not e$actly e$plain everything there is about patriotism. "nstead of fighting for prestige or worst, dominancy, patriots fight in respect to dignity, a more divine cause. Their actions are limited by ethics and moral of conduct. "f nationalism is related with chaotic purposes then patriotism is definitely related with sense of ustice. "t is not really about right or wrong for patriots. "t is more towards ust or un ust, fair or not fair. 8ustice is one of the roots of patriotism. ,o matter how e$treme @

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

patriotism can get, it cannot cross the definite reasoning in sense of ustice. "n fact ustice is so prominent in patriotism that there is such thing as constitutional patriotism0 a subentity of the broader term0 patriotism. Aonstitutional patriotism is as the term suggested0 allegiance to the constitution. !mendments that alter the primary principle lined in the constitution are considered treason. True patriots often do not reveal his intentions. !s to that, there is no way of telling if someone is truly a patriot especially when that someone happens to be a representative that is in need of votes. *hen as%ed of what !lbert ?instein would say on patriotism, he bawled .heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately " hate themB/ ! leader often defines their actions as of patriotic to conceal the true underlying intentions. Stalin of Soviet 5nion used to cry .;or motherlandB/ The notorious communist state leader regards himself as a patriot. !dolph 3itler atrocities were well %nown worldwide. That of Stalin#s however, were less %nown by the public but " assure you, his crime was nevertheless greater than of 3itler. 3e was the first to establish a communist-state country. The idea of communism was never a crime by itself. Aommunism was a doctrine based on e-uality and discipline. "n communism, the community is not supposed to have a government at all. But in order to reach that level of discipline among communist citizens, it is thought that there is need of a transition phase. Transition phase is where the communist state plays a ma or role in establishing the final phase of communist country. Stalin was never really interested in achieving that goal. Aommunism was merely used as propaganda for the people to hold on to. Aonse-uently, about =7 millions of >ussian citizens were %illed during the so called .transition phase/0 either directly or indirectly by Stalin#s action. *hen he was -uestioned of his actions0 he casually response by articulating words of patriotism. "t was forecasted that Soviet 5nion would achieve the final state of communist country by &'=7. 5ntil today no communist state in the world had ever achieve the true communist country as lined by Aarl Mar$.

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State


!ccording to percentage of citizens, highest to lowest, there are three main ethnics in Malaysia0 Malays, Ahinese and "ndians. *ith all due respect to the minorities, "#ll leave them out of discussion for the sa%e of simplicity. There are two possible ways on how you can see a nation in Malaysia. Malaysians can either group themselves in nations according to respective races or indistinctively as a single nation regardless of their distinct ethnic, religion and political ideas. The former is the most possible out of the two possibilities. "n fact " strongly belief in my personal opinion that that is how Malaysians group themselves0 according to race. ! single nation could be the case if Malaysian identity is strong enough to dissipate the differences between these three main races. !s " said earlier, individuals group themselves base on sharing of a common entity. *ell, as you %now well enough, each of these races has distinct cultures, language, beliefs, lifestyle, histories and even their way of thin%ing is somewhat different. Some of them prefer to live in a neighborhood where their own culture is stronger and where more of their own people reside. Moreover, these races are also separated by religions that are specifically dominant in a particular race than the other. !lmost all of Malays are believers in "slam. Most of Ahinese are either Ahristians or Buddhist. Most "ndians are 3indus and some are Ahristians. ,ationalism and racism are very much related. ,ot all nationalist are racist. Some nationalist fight for a common political idea. >acism can lead to nationalism. 3owever, some forms of racism are not necessarily nationalism. >acists sometimes act as individuals instead of representing their nation. "t is clear that a Malay, a Ahinese and an "ndian will see these set of differences among them. The -uestion is how far does their sense of belonging to their respective races goes+ <et us leave that -uestion open for answers that rest assured will be revealed soon.

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State


*hen we tal% about politics, it is always necessary to tal% about the state or less precisely, the government. Briefly, these are how the state of Malaysia goes. <i%e any other democratic country, the highest law is the constitution. ,o being regardless of their status and ran% can violate the constitution. Below the constitution, we have the !gong or the %ing. Eery much li%e in 5nited Fingdom, Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy. Below the %ing is the government itself. The government is divided into ( organs0 8udicial 1court2, <egislative 1ma%ing law2 and ?$ecutive 1administration2. <egislative is the parliament that consists of two0 3ouse of >epresentative and 3ouse of Senate. Members of 3ouse of >epresentative 1M92 are selected through election. Senators are chosen by the !gong among citizens according to their contribution to the country. :f all the divisions, <egislative is the most important. <egislative authority has the power to ma%e laws and also the power to raise ta$es and authorize e$penditure. "n fact and off the record, Malaysian government can be considered as a democracy. The !gong and the 3ouse of Senate almost always pass the bills that have been approved by the 3ouse of >epresentative. !s " have mention earlier in the .nation and state/ chapter, Malaysia is a federal country composed of &4 States. 9lease be reminded that State with capital .S/ refers to sub-region of the country and not the formal definition of state 1governing body2. Some citizens in Malaysia group themselves according to their respective State territory. " would not discuss on this in length but it is worth mentioning because even though to a lesser e$tent, Malaysian citizens do see the differences between citizens from various States. Thus, portray some spirit of nationalism toward their respective states which in my opinion is arguably not the healthiest thing for the country. The federal government has authority over e$ternal affairs, defense, internal security, ustice, federal citizenship, finance, commerce, industry, communications, transportation, and other matters that reside within the country. State-government ma%es, approve and uphold civil law related with cases among Malays, Muslims and other indigenous peoples according to "slamic law 1Syariah2 and traditional law of other races. State government also handles various internal affairs, budget and e$penditures.

Disclaimer: the text following this page is not base solely on facts alone but also on personal opinions of the writer and some, of various external sources; the writer does not guarantee the accuracy of the facts depicted in the text following this page; the writer are not to be held responsible for inaccuracy or ambiguity in facts and opinions depicted in the text following this page; by reading any content of the text following these page, the reader are considered to be in agreement to all of the above terms

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

The ruling party 1Barisan ,asional2 is a coalition, an alliance of &4 parties comprising of three ma or parties0 5M,: 15nited Malay ,ational 9arty2, MA! 1Malaysian Ahinese !ssociation2 and M"A 1Malaysian "ndian Aongress2. This predominant party has been ruling since independence in &'@D. Aurrently they own '2G of seats in the 3ouse of >epresentative. !s you can see, the political parties of Malaysia are influenced by sense of ethnicity. True enough that they are united under a single alliance. But the ma or ob ectives of the alliance are not to fight for interest of all, e-uality among all races or any divine purposes such as that. The ma or ob ective is nevertheless to dominate the seat in the parliament. .Two wolves and a lamb deciding on a meal/ Hemocracy has it flaws. But, "#m not blaming democracy. *hy do they have to have political ideas base on race. "n 5nited Fingdom there are 4 ma or ethnics0 Scottish, ?nglish, *elsh and "rish. British do have nationalist party. The most e$treme in term of nationalism is probably the Scottish. But the winning party is the <abour 9arty that protects the rights of commons and opposes capitalism. Those are healthy ideas. The party promotes e-uality, fight oppression and probably even increases IH9 of the country. !nd the point is0 the party has nothing to do with race. Jou see, more than half of the populations in Malaysia are Malays. 5M,: is definitely a nationalist party that favors over Malays interest. The same can be said for MA! and M"A. The thing is MA! and M"A are not as strong enough on their own. ?ven if the two parties form an alliance, they have small chance of achieving ma ority of the seats. Chinese and Indians must have a representative in the parliament . They don#t have much of a choice but to ally themselves with 5M,: and as a result, further strengthening 5M,: position in the government. The 9rime Minister was always chosen from 5M,: and never from any other party in B, coalition. Most of B, representative fighting for election are members of 5M,:. Since independence on &'@D, B, coalition owns 26( rd of the parliament#s seats up until now save for one election. :n May &'C' election, B, still won by ma ority of more than ) but then lost their 26( rd ma ority to Ahinese#s Iera%an party. The lost was thought to be caused by earlier racial dispute events in Singapore since &'C(. &'C4 >ace >iots in Singapore were started by rumors from Malay nationalists. "t was thought that the rumors would tric% Singaporean Malays into gathering around MalaysiaKs government 5M,: for protection. The &'C4 riot were a large contributing factor in the e$pulsion of that state from Malaysia, and racial tension continued to simmer. !fter the election, on &(th May &'C', there was another racial riot. The riot was initially started by members of Ahinese led Iera%an party provocations on Malays. ,ow, since 277@ elections, '2G of seats in the parliament are B,#s. !s a result, most of the seats in the parliament are ta%en by 5M,:. 9lain and simple, fol%s0 all the ma or parties in Malaysia are either nationalist or separatist party. "n reality, none of the parties serves the interest of the ( ma or nations as e-uals. Aonse-uently, resulting in a strongly divided multination-state.


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

5M,: is the dominant party in B,. 3ence, 5M,: is also the dominant ruling party in Malaysia. Too much confidence of a single party is not healthy. They can ma%e mista%e and still not worry of getting overthrown by any other parties. ?ven the infamous Malaysian e$-9rime Minister is uneasy with how things are going. There is no doubt that the ruling party has done a great ob of bringing up Malaysia into the now @7 years old Malaysia. But it could have been better. "f the citizens truly love their country, it#s all right to e$pect more. "#m not saying that the opposition parties would do better. "#m suggesting that the citizens ought to pay more attention to the government policies and actions. Mahathir stated in his own words0 L" believe that the country should have a strong government but not too strong. ! two-thirds ma ority li%e " en oyed when " was prime minister is sufficient but a '7G ma ority is too strong. ... *e need an opposition to remind us if we are ma%ing mista%es. *hen you are not opposed you thin% everything you do is right.L *ho are to be blame+ Malaysia is a democracy in practice. "t is the citizens who hold the ultimate power over Malaysian Iovernment. 5nfortunately some of Malaysians standpoint is still traditionally fi$ed on racial ideas despite the decades of civilization. They are blinded by their attachment and allegiance to their races that they do not see what they really need to fight for. Ealues such as e-uality, liberalism and ustice are abandoned. ;or supremacy, dominancy and prestige are what they are see%ing. Their reasoning of right and wrong only favors the side that they are on. ?ven when loo%ing for business opportunities0 Ahinese favor Ahinese, Malays favor Malays. Lack of trust leads to rusty ends. *hen government is dominated by a single nation such as nationalist party, 5M,:, the opportunities would not be presented to the citizens as e-ually as it should. !part from money-swindling-corruptions, political leaders are using their power in giving opportunities to their respective members of the nation and worst, their sub-associates and their %in. The point is not only that the ( ma or races in Malaysia are separated by culture, religion, language and lifestyleM they are also separated by political ideas. !s a result further strengthening their classification of nation based on race.


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

May &(th, &'C' N &=4 were %illed in a riot between Ahinese and Malays. That day would forever be remembered as a blac% day for Malaysia. :ne of the causes of the dispute was the result of une-ual rights among indigenous citizens and non-indigenous citizens. "ndigenous >ights i.e. . ak !umiputera/ or special rights i.e. . ak Istimewa/, favor the indigenous citizens of the country. "n nationalism, there is no absolute right and wrong. "ndigenous >ights is certainly right from the perspective of indigenous people and wrong for the perspective of the opposing nation, non-indigenous people. 3owever, it would not be fair for me to view "ndigenous >ights from one side and not the other. Therefore, " will let u see Indig n!"# Rig$%# &'!( )!%$ * '#* +%i, # 0 both from my personal view which is nevertheless ambiguous and of course sub ected to argumentation. Hoes anyone in this very world deserve more rights than the other+ *ho gave them these rights+ Before we loo% for the answer to these -uestions, let us loo% at human rights in the general perspective. ;irst of all, " believe that every single human being in this universe, no matter what color, place of birth or ethnicity, deserve e-ual rights among them. Second of all, no man can give these rights to us or ta%e it away from us. These rights are in us from the day we were born. These rights are given to us by our creator. *ho gave governments the right to govern us+ ,o one did. Iovernments are simply given privilege by the people to protect the people. 5nli%e rights, privileges can be removed if seen fit. Therefore, it is ust not rational in our logic mind to see in any way that the government may reserve the right to give its citizens the rights. *hat more to say that the government can give the rights to one citizen more than the other. Some may argue that "ndigenous >ights, Special >ights, .3a% Bumiputera/ or .3a% "stimewa/ is simply a mista%e in term of nomenclature. So they say it is .indigenous privilege/ instead of ."ndigenous >ights/. The term .privilege/ refers to something that is given and can be ta%en away by the people. "f it cannot be ta%en away or removed, then we should not call it a privilege. *hy can#t it be ta%en away+ Jou see, Malaysian state is a democracy in reality i.e. de facto but a monarchy in legal perspective i.e. de "ure. "ndigenous >ights are written in blac% and white in the constitution. "n order to ma%e an amendment to the constitution, 26( rd of the parliament must agree to the amendment. Aurrently and for many years to come, =7G 1which is confidently more than 26(rd2 of the members in the parliament are of indigenous people from nationalist party0 5M,: of 9eninsular Malaysia and 9"SB!O9BB of ?ast Malaysia. There is no way that these people will see fit in their nationalistic interest to approve any amendments that would remove "ndigenous >ights. "f should the nationalist party fail to protect the


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

"ndigenous >ights0 that somehow the amendment got approved by the parliament, the monarchy system will be sort of a failsafe mechanism to prevent the amendment from realizing itself. ?ven though it had never happen, The !gong 1%ing2 hold the absolute power to disapprove the amendment or any other amendments as he sees fit. So, the thing is ."ndigenous >ights/ is neither a privilege nor a right by nature. ."ndigenous >ights/ is a scamM it should not e$ist because human does not reserve the rights to give themselves the rights. ?ven if the indigenous right is in fact a privilege, it is still unfair for the nonindigenous citizens because they are part of the civic community. Their contributions are as important to the country as any other indigenous fellows#. Some of the indigenous people believe that ."ndigenous >ights/ are going to be in effect temporarily simply to boost indigenous people forward. The way it#s going on, special rights are going to go on in order for forever because these special rights are not going to achieve its ob ective. "ndigenous >ights is realizing itself as a reverse psychology phenomenon. "ndigenous people are progressing slowly. ;ran%ly spea%ing, the progress is not the compliments of "ndigenous >ights. "ronically, "ndigenous >ights is thought to be the limiting factor that slows the progress. #pecial rights are for special people like the handicapped and the disable. "ndigenous people cannot deny the fact that "ndigenous >ights are not something to be proud of. !s a nation with sense of nationalism and values of prestige, they should be humiliated by the fact that they are dependent on the "ndigenous >ights. They are having symptom of universal laziness because of the reverse psychological effect0 the thought of having an advantage over other citizens. ;or instance, the race between the hare and the tortoise0 the hare too% a nap and unsurprisingly loses to the tortoise because the hare thought that he can catch up in no time. That is what Mahathir, Malaysian e$-9rime Minister always voiced out in disappointment and regret0 disappointed that Malays do not ma%e use of the special rights in positive manner and regret that he allowed that to continue during his period of influenceB Malays came from Sumatra, some from 8avanese island, and some of the many ethnics in ?ast Malaysia came from eastern Borneo which is not even within the boundaries of Malaysia. Me being a Melanau, supposedly one of the many natives of the State of Sarawa%M my ancestors are probably pirates of the The 9hillipines# seas settled on Borneo long time ago. Aould be that " am the long lost line of Aaptain Barbosa 1 ust %idding2. Ahinese and "ndians came from farther land and they came several centuries thereafter. Hifferences in rights according to distance and time0 silly and e$tremely nationalisticB


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

So let us now view "ndigenous >ights in defense of the indigenous people. The following will be contradicting what " said earlier in this chapter. >egardless of me being an indigenous myself, the following will be how most indigenous people would ustify the indigenous rights. *hy was "ndigenous >ights formulated in the first place+ Malays saw a threat from the nationalistic approach of the Ahinese side. *ith all due respect, we %now that these do not apply to the entire Ahinese community. "#m referring to the e$treme nationalistic members of Ahinese citizens. Ahinese came from civilization that was long established0 way before Malays even started their civilization. Ahinese %nowledge of economy and business management is ac%nowledgeable and so is their s%ill in monopolization and methods of ac-uiring business opportunities. The latter is not e$actly meant to be a compliment. ;or the sa%e of saving me the trouble, " assume that you %now what " meant by s%illful in term of creating business opportunities. ;or that is also the reason to why Ahinese are previously denied of citizenship in 5nited States decades ago. " would rather not write about that in detail, as it#s e$tremely ambiguous to personal opinions but that point is worth mentioning anyway. Ahinese continuous success in the field is not ust because they are good at it. They wor% as a team. *hen there is a team there is an opponent team. So happen that the opponent team is less s%illful and has less e$perience in economic monopolization. Aertainly, the opponent team loses, and will continue to lose until they are given some breathing space. "f non-indigenous people persist on see%ing interest among themselves instead of trading freely among all citizens of Malaysia, then "ndigenous >ights is definitely ustified. Some of the non-indigenous nations argue that une-ual rights are opposing the fundamentals of ustice. Before " provide you with a rather resolving fact, let me give you an e$ample. Bear in mind that " do not intend for the e$ample to directly represent nonindigenous versus indigenous people. ,or that it has any relation to the current events among non-indigenous and indigenous people. <oo% at it as a metaphor of the reality. !n army of veteran soldiers from far away land attac%s a town that is defended by mere conscripts. Surely, the veterans would have a better chance of winning. 3owever, that is not necessarily the outcome. Hefenders always have the e$tra advantages of defending. They have bun%ers, minefields, barb fences, fo$holes, turrets and abundant supplies of ammo and food. Ho those e$tra advantages sound unfair+ <et say that the defenders don#t have any of these e$tra advantages0 the veterans and the conscripts are e-ual in both e-uipment and surroundings. Aertainly, the outcome is obvious that the defenders will lose their town to the usurpers. ,ow, try to ustify the reality in relation to that scenario alone. Aan we call that a fair competition for the indigenous+ $n the other hand, which "umble up the dilemma even more: is it "ustified for the indigenous to treat the non%


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

indigenous people as an enemy& ,ow as " promised, let me present one fundamental principle of ustice. "t is ac%nowledged by all that if there is ine-uality of opportunity, the opportunities of those with lesser opportunities must be enhance. Moreover, ta%e into consideration that "ndigenous >ights does not in any way oppress the freedom of the nonindigenous people. "ndigenous >ights are merely a set of advantages that create opportunities for the indigenous people to catch up to the standards. ;or some of the forementioned factors, 5, agreed in recognizing the implementation of "ndigenous >ights by a state as lined in Hraft Heclaration on the >ights of "ndigenous 9eoples on &''4 despite resistances by 5nited States, Aanada, !ustralia and ,ew Pealand. !ll four of those countries were multination-state1s2 that were governed by a single dominant nation. <ater in ;ebruary 2Cth &''D, "nter-!merican Aommission on 3uman >ights approved "ndigenous >ights after their &(((rd sessions. The downturn in restlessness of indigenous minorities in 5S! resulted in better assimilation among citizens and thus facilitated the nation-building process. "n term of legality, some might argue over the eligibility of being regarded as indigenous people. The main criterion is based on time alone. 3owever, that criterion is not absolute and was sub ected to arguments. The argument was mainly related with the length of time re-uired for a settled nation in order to be entitled as indigenous people. Some believe that a nation is eligible if they have no history of settling at all0 that they have no history of being from somewhere else. Some say that a nation that e$isted before a government or civilization was formed are considered indigenous. Some say that you loo% into their ancestry to indicate if they have connection to someplace else they might have come from. "n Malaysia, through history, most of the so called indigenous people in Malaysia are argued to be not indigenous at all. #ome of the 'alays came from #umatra, some from (avanese island, and some of the many ethnics in )ast 'alaysia came from eastern !orneo* Chinese and Indians came from farther land and they came several centuries after the first of 'alays settlers* 3owever, do the Malays or any other ethnics in ?ast Malaysia entitled to indigenous people and thus, deserve the "ndigenous >ights+ Malays does have history of settling down but they came from very nearby lands. Malays did not encounter any resistance by indigenous people until the e$pansion of ?mpire of Malacca. ?mpire of Malacca was the first civilization in that land with a sovereign government. Aonsidering the past events with those ideas in mind, Malays and various ethnic of indigenous people in Borneo does in fact deserve the entitlement of indigenous people and thus, reserve the privilege of having "ndigenous >ights or should " say, ."ndigenous 9rivileges/. "n respect to nationalism0 members of nation discriminates distinct member of nation because of their differences. There is no doubt that it is natural for a nationalist to behave that way. Hiscrimination is fine. 3owever, why must we e$tend our sense of nationalism into dominance+ !s mentioned earlier, "ndigenous >ights is not an &4

Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

aggression upon non-indigenous citizens. ,on-indigenous people %now surely well that they can manage without the privilege of "ndigenous >ights. Some of them even %now that "ndigenous >ights are ustified in term of ustice and legality as e$plained in previous paragraphs. *hy the persistence of denying ac%nowledgment to "ndigenous >ights+ 9lain and simple fol%s, human nature0 supremacy, ealousy and intolerance to opposing nation. Those of which are sub-entities of an e$treme nationalism. 3owever, be reminded that "#m proving a point and that point apply strictly and solely to e$treme nationalistic members of the nation "n respect to the idea of multi-nation in the mildest sense of nationalism, the nonindigenous citizens should not perceive "ndigenous >ights as an opportunity for their opponent, indigenous citizens. "nstead, in oppose to the idea of e$treme nationalism, try to see it as a helping hand for the new nation and best of all0 don#t perceive indigenous citizens as an enemy at all. ,ations does not have to be at war with each other. Such is the idea of internationalization0 integrations of nations that are based on acceptance, respect and tolerance. 5nited ,ation was the first attempt of this very idea but then failed miserably as it is led solely by dominant nations of the world. 3owever, internationalization is a good idea which is supposedly an organization that has the voices of all the nations in the world. ,ations that participate in tas%s that serves the interest of all the members regardless of their allegiance to their particular nations. ,ations with a mild sense of nationalism that would in turn, provide healthy competition for prestige. Aonse-uently, there would be a net increase in production by all of the participating nations. >egardless of the views from both sides, it all began from the idea of nationalism. ?$aggeration of differences that in reality is not significant for the survival of any of the nations. The argument of both sides which can neither be considered absolutely right nor wrong, resulted into e$treme nationalism which in turn lead to &( th May &'C' event. Since then, the .cold/ civil war between Malaysians for thirst of domination and supremacy continues. The dispute between nations of Multination-State of Malaysia will never end unless all sides put an end to their e$treme sense of nationalism as no war will come to end if one side cease to fight and the other side persist on fighting.


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

"t is now clear to us that Malaysian citizens does portrays spirit of nationalism respective of their particular race, culture and all those entities that " had mentioned earlier. Therefore it is substantial to say that Malay, Ahinese and "ndian see themselves as three separate nations. 3ow about the future+ "s it possible that Malaysians see themselves as a single nation+ *e cannot deny that there is such thing as Malaysian culture and Malaysian lifestyles. Hecades ago the distribution of each race of Malaysians was highly aggregated according to their wor%place0 Malay-agriculture, Ahineseeconomy and "ndians-rubber estate. ,ow that the assignments according to race are gone, the Malaysian are integrated in performing various civic function such as factory produce or perform services such as medical services and ban%ing services. ;or @7 years they have been sharing a single government, legislation, territory and wor%place. Aonse-uently, there is an unavoidable healthy socialization among various groups. These events resulted in progressive development of Malaysian culture and Malaysian lifestyle. These national culture and national lifestyle are evidence in 5nited States of !merica. Many decades ago, few years after 5S! were established, there were internal dispute that involve civil wars and clash between two ma or races in !merica0 !frican-!mericans and Aaucasians. ?ven the minorities such as >ed "ndian and Ahinese immigrants were sub ect of oppression and ambiguities. !fter several decades of peace and integration among the !merican citizens, their sense of nationalism according to their former respective nation decreases. ?$treme nationalism that resulted in aggression and oppression among nation was gone. The set of differences were dissolve by the strength of !merican culture and !merican lifestyle. *hat do " mean by these national culture and national lifestyle+ "t is not yet eminent in Malaysia but fortunately there are signs of it. "n 5S!, !mericans adore their football game, they love surfing and go camping, eat fast foods and all those other things that usual !merican do. "n Malaysia, we can see that all the ethnic language mi$-up and in the end there is such thing as .Bahasa >u a%/ or .Bahasa 9asar/. There are foods that taste neither Ahinese#s, Malay#s nor "ndian#s foods. They have all of those influence mi$ together and in the end it taste li%e Malaysian food.


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State

Malaysian government plays a ma or role in the process called .nation-building/. Malaysians have national prefi$es for all sort of thing other than previously discuss, national culture and national lifestyle. Malaysian government or any other government for that matter, tends to unite their citizens in a simpler manner. ,ation-building in 5S! is a huge success. They have movies that brought up the spirit of unity, their cultures and also histories of their past accomplishment. Iovernment spends a lot of their budgets on training of national teams and sport representatives of their country. !ll of those are nevertheless to increase nationalism spirit among their citizens. 9roton cars are the first car produce by Malaysian local company and are honored as the national car. Besides that, there is also the national anthem, national dish, national par% and so many other words with national prefi$es on them. !ll of those symbols are an entity that Malaysians can attach to. ,ot only things with national prefi$es on them but also such things as arm forces, 9etronas twin tower and 9utra aya. These are all the symbols and achievement that Malaysians are proud ofM not ust specifically by Ahinese, Malays or "ndians. ,o, we weren#t tal%ing about patriotism. !ll of those things definitely have the strict sense of nationalism in it0 prestige and supremacy. !nyway, " fail to see Malaysians as a single nation anytime sooner. Their traditions of e$clusive allegiances on their respective races are still prominent up until now. "#m not saying that Malaysians are racist. "t#s ust that they attached themselves too much to their ancestry, their culture and their race. Too much that it in ure the function of the civic community. 5nity of Malaysian citizens would improve much on Malaysian economy, produce and conse-uently, standard of living. "f Malaysians continue to function within small distinctive groups and worst, with little or no cooperation between those small group, Malaysia will never be able to progress as rapidly as it should. !part from their huge population and cheap labor, unity is the ma or factor as to why Ahina is able to improve their industry and economy incredibly fast. 8apan and Forea are also good e$amples of efficient civic community in that sense. Then again, the idea of multination-state are not always associated with e$treme nationalism. "t is imperative that the respective nations in Malaysia can balance up their sense of nationalism as a whole and not forget their former culture and ancestry.


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State


<et us not forget that a civilized community tends to see things at a wider perspective. *hen " say civilized0 " refer to a citizen that respect law, value their rights, prefer order than chaos and have a good sense of ethics and moral. There is no doubt that the ruling government has a ma or role in determining whether the citizen is civilized or not. !s oppose to dictatorship, democratic system broaden the rights of the citizens. This sense of control among citizens is what brought them to feel self-belong toward their government and their country. That#s where the spirit of patriotism comes from. 3ow does this relate with nationalism+ Quoted from a popular article on .,ationalism and 9atriotism/ by :rwell, .patriotism is a weapon against nationalism/. 9atriotism let us see ourselves as a civic community while ignoring the differences among us. Aonsecutively, when the awareness of the differences decreases0 sense of nationalism among nations of multination-state will decreases proportionately. But ust how do we implement the civil communalism in the mind of Malaysians or any other citizens for that matter+ The most important factor is nevertheless education, education and education. 3owever, the conversion of a narrow-minded into civil-minded community cannot be implemented by teachings of merely a single group in particular. <ess-educated are the ma orities in most developing countries. Therefore, we need to educate all. Aertainly, that is plain impossible. 3uman learn from set of e$amples. That is the sole reason historians devote themselves into learning histories. "n this particular case, set of e$amples can be in the form of environment, important individuals 1leaders2, and of course organization and the community itself. "f ma ority of the people surround us support liberalism, the minorities will tend to realize that cause. 3uman perceive a right thing is right by approval of ma ority. ;or e$ample, why is capital punishment implemented+ 9eople believe that criminals fear death. 9eople believe that criminals should get what they give0 blood for blood. That is where democracy came from in the first place. Ma ority by a single nation is a completely different thing. *hat " meant is by ma ority of various people regardless of differences in bac%grounds0 religion, race, age, se$ and etc. Moral and ethics are not ust something that you can ac-uire from the result of maturity into adulthood. "f a person is brought up in the ungle without any e$posure to civilization, the person will become a barbarian or some of you might call0 a ungle-man. "f the person is brought up in a city with law and order, he6she will at least have a chance of becoming a civil-minded person. Barbarian and a civilized man do not have the same way of thin%ing. *ay of thin%ing is what determines how human perceive each other and that is crucial in how they set their differences. Ho they differentiate themselves base on absurd, silly, nationalistic entities or something less absurd, something that is considered by rational thin%ing+ That is where education would come handy. ! civilize, modern and broadminded person see all humans as brothers while a barbaric, bac%ward and narrow-minded fellow see humans from other than his own sheer faction as enemies.


Malaysia, Ethnically and Politically derived Multination-State


9reviously most of the presented points and e$amples regarding nationalism are focused into articulating the e$treme sense of nationalism. "t#s true that wars are the result of differences between sides and that sense of differences is e$aggerated by nationalism. 3owever, nationalism has it purposesR but, to a certain e$tent. The reason why nationalism is so common among us is because nationalism is in human by nature. ?ven during our school days, we gang up with this group and that group and bully the wea% or be bullied ourselves. But that#s not the purpose. The point is0 if others are nationalist and your nation is not, then your nation will be bac%ward and the others will prevail. Sense of nationalism e$ists in all of us to protect our culture, idealism and our people. "magine a world that has nominal one to everything0 one idea, one nation and one culture. "t is pointless in having varieties in anything if you can#t appreciate them. "t is li%e a completely color-blinded man that sees everything as blac% and white. Aertainly, if we have means to avoid it, we would prefer not to have that disability. Aertainly, we don#t want to live in such emptiness and vague world. "n regard to that point, absolute globalization which opposes nationalism is not a very humanly idea. ;irst of all, diversity and variety are values that are en oyed by human beings. Second of all, no single organization can e-ually serve the interest of various nations without any ambiguity at all. <ast and of outmost importance, no single organization can be trusted with power to rule the world. " believe that internationalization in respect to idea of nationalism and federalism is a prospect. " also believed that Malaysians also en oy the diversity in their culture, food and environment. !nd conse-uently, " hope that they will learn to appreciate the many nations that ma%e Malaysia uni-ue for such diversities. !part from that, " also believe that there must be a reason to why our creator creates such thing as nationalism0 as a challenge, as a test or whatever you may call it. <i%e any other temptations that we human face, we should learn to control them and not the other way around. ,ationalism must not control us, cloud our decision or disturb the moral values within us. *e must be able to see the right-wing and left-wing of nationalism0 .nationalism that serves the purpose/ and .nationalism that e$tend towards obsession of ac-uiring prestige and dominance/.