Feeling “threatened” in their own country, groups fighting for the rights of the dominant Malay majority have banded together to form the Malay NGO Consultative Council (MPM).
They have their laundry list of priorities, which ranges from the usual Malay rights and privileges, Islam and Malay Rulers, to national security and public order.
These are already items contained in the Federal Constitution and associated laws that very few would contest. Fact is, none would even dispute such provisions, agreed way back in 1957.
So what is behind the MPM and what can Malaysians make of them? They are re-asserting what is guaranteed by the laws of the land, perhaps because they think the ruling Barisan Nasional is giving it all away in exchange for the non-Malay votes that fled in Election 2008.
This super-group of more than 50 NGOs now appear to have the muscle and voice to articulate the community’s demands, and possibly, cow the non-Malays into silence.
Will they succeed?
They already have — as long as Malaysians of all stripes and hues, race and creed, sit by and hold their tongues, fearing to voice out the incongruity of rights group fighting for rights that are already enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Perhaps it is time non-Malay groups and more progressive Malays team up and counter these right-wing groups, which continue to hog the limelight and dominate the national discourse.
For at stake is tone and the right to influence the direction of the country that began as Malaya for all Malayans, and later joined by Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia for all Malaysians.
The mounting evidence of the past few months indicates that non-Malays and moderates in the country cannot count on national institutions to protect their interests. And this includes the judiciary, police and the Rulers.
It remains that the ones who shout about their rights and the need to defend or fight for them have wronged their own kind, if not others.
The Kelantanese are bereft of the right to a five per cent oil royalty or cash, for oil or gas extracted off its coast. Instead, those who claim to defend Malay rights endorse a compassionate fund, turning their brethren into beggars in their own land.
What of women who are caned due to moral policing? Anyone who questions that is seen as questioning Islam and the Malay Rulers, when it is simply an issue of human rights, not the position of Islam or the Malay Rulers in the Federal Constitution.
In a free and independent Malaysia, we only need to redress the wrongs that continue to fester but not allow rights groups to wrong others for their own ends.
Among the prime movers are Perkasa, ex-Umno lawmakers council Mubarak, Peninsula Malay Students Confederation (GPMS), Malay Professional Thinkers Association and Cuepacs. Read here for more
A media release said among those who spoke were Perkasa president and Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali Mubarak chief Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang and Malay Professional Thinkers president Professor Datuk Dr Kamaruddin Kachar who is a former director-general of the National Civics Bureau (BTN) which the opposition claims spreads hate ideology.
The MPM was launched by GPMS president Jais Abd Karim followed by a dialogue and a signing ceremony to form the body.
Its media release said,
“It is apparent that there is pressure on Malay rights and privileges in their own country, towards the position of Islam as the official religion, the position and sovereignty of the Malay Rulers that is always being questioned, the New Economic Policy that is being sidelined despite the LACK of achievement by the Malays and also national security.”