Tags: perkauman

Pendidik Boleh Membantu Mengatasi Isu Perkauman

Tragedi ‘rasis’ bergema lagi dengan tragedi di Columbus, Ohio, pada hari Rabu 21/04/2021. Seorang pegawai polis dirakam (melalui video kamera badan tambahan) menembak seorang remaja kulit hitam yang menyerang dua wanita dengan pisau.

Di Malaysia pula, sungguh pun kejadian serupa tidak berlaku dengan teruk, namun suara kecaman turut didengari.



Mungkin tidak lama lagi, akan ada desakan dari ahli politik maupun badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) untuk menangani pembelajaran emosi sosial (socio emotional learning) dalam konteks sosiopolitik yang lebih besar, mengintegrasikan amalan budaya pembelajaran emosi sosial untuk memastikan hasil ekuiti atau saksamaan pelajar yang adil.

Bagaimanapun, ada yang menegaskan bahawa tidak perlu membincangkan amalan ekuiti atau responsif budaya; kerana sistem persekolahan kita adalah sistem kebangsaan.

Tekanan di sekolah-sekolah pastinya menunjukkan ketidakselesaan yang mendasari terutama yang membicarakan tentang bangsa, identiti, dan perbezaan di bilik darjah negara kita.

Kebimbangan terhadap kesediaan pelajar dan pendidik yang terpinggir di sekolah-sekolah dijangka akan menjadi satu perlumbaan dan ekuiti atau yang mungkin berjuang secara senyap.

Kita tidak mampu berkubang dalam ketidakselesaan mengenai isu-isu bangsa, kaum dan ekuiti.

Pendidik mempunyai kewajiban untuk menghadapi bahaya perkauman.

Itulah sebabnya kita mesti berkomitmen untuk membantu  pendidik yang anti-rasis dan mempersiapkan anak muda kita untuk menjadi anti-rasis.

1. Terlibat dalam Kesedaran Waspada Diri

Jika di negara barat , mereka yang berkulit putih atau dianggap putih mempunyai lebih banyak keistimewaan dan lebih sedikit halangan sumber daripada orang kulit hitam dan orang lain yang berwarna.

Sekiranya kita tidak mengetahui kekuatan kita, ia dapat menyalahgunakannya secara tidak sengaja atau gagal memanfaatkannya ke arah antirasisme.

Refleksi diri yang berterusan meningkatkan kemampuan kita untuk menghalang hak istimewa orang berkulit putih ketika kita melihat atau bertindak terhadapnya.

2. Mengakui Rasisme dan Ideologi Ketuanan

Apabila kita membiarkan ketidakselesaan atau kebodohan kita menghalang  kita daripada mengenali sejarah perkauman dan masa kini negara kita, kita adalah sebahagian daripada masalah.

Gagal mengakui isu perkauman tidak hanya menghapus sejarah, budaya, dan identiti, tetapi juga mengabaikan perlakuan pembezaan berterusan berdasarkan ras.

Mengetahui mengenai konstruk sosial ras dan perkauman serta ideologi ketuanan menyedarkan kita akan masalah itu supaya kita tidak digugat dalam kebodohan kita agar kita dapat berusaha mencari jalan keluar.

Bagi pendidik anti-rasis, tugasan tersebut bermaksud terus berkongsi isu perkauman dan mengrekrut rakan sekutu untuk bergabung dalam urusan antirasis.

3. Mengkaji dan Mengajar Sejarah Perwakilan

Tidak kira apa subjek apa yang anda ajar, fakta sejarah adalah penting.

Mengetahui keseluruhan sejarah negara kita membantu kita memahami bagaimana sistem pendidikan kita sekarang mengekalkan atau tidak isu ekuti atau ketidakadilan.

Sudah sekian lama, kita telah di ajar  sejarah negara  tanpa gambaran sebenar tentang kehebatan pelbagai kaum dan telah banyak yang hanya menfokuskan untuk menghapus kebenaran .

Kurikulum kita harus lebih jujur dan telus dalam membicarakan tentang hak sivil dan amalan pengajaran .


4. Berbincang Mengenai Perkauman dengan Pelajar

Kebanyakan pendidik biasanya tidak merasa selesa untuk bercakap mengenai bangsa.

Tetapi ketika kita menjauhkan diri dari perbincangan terbuka tentang kaum dengan orang muda, kita menyemai benih prasangka dengan secara tidak sengaja mengirim pesan bahawa ada sesuatu yang tidak kena dengan orang dari bangsa lain.

Untuk membuka perbualan dengan orang muda, gunakan cerita dari sejarah dan sastera sebagai titik permulaan, dan minta pelajar untuk mengambil perspektif watak tentang siapa mereka baca.

Membaca karya sastera dan bermain peranan meningkatkan empati dan kemahiran kognitif sosial yang lain.


5. Apabila Anda Melihat Rasisme, Lakukan Sesuatu

Kita harus melawan perkauman, ‘isms’ dan fobia lain. Semua pelajar layak untuk hidup dan belajar dengan selesa tanpa mengira warna kulit.

Untuk memerangi perkauman, pertimbangkan bagaimana sumber-sumber akademik, dasar, kemasukan, pengambilan pekerja, penggredan, dan amalan pengurusan tingkah laku di sekolah anda mungkin bersifat rasis.

Tanyakan pada diri anda apakah "peraturan" tertentu diterapkan pada semua orang atau hanya untuk beberapa orang.

Terus waspada terhadap bias tersirat anda untuk memastikan bahawa anda juga bukan sebahagian dari masalah.

Yang paling penting, apabila kita melihat perkauman - sama ada di peringkat individu atau dasar - kita mesti mempunyai keberanian untuk bertindak.


Berkongsi data mengenai amalan tertentu dan gunakan penceritaan untuk memanusiakan data.

Bina perkongsian dengan organisasi keadilan kaum di komuniti anda untuk mengintegrasikan tugasan mereka dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran.

Bentuk kumpulan tugas untuk menilai data, kebijakan, dan praktik dengan lensa antirasis untuk mengganggu keputusan sistemik yang secara historis telah menyingkirkan perkauman.

Pengajaran untuk masa depan antirasis bermula dengan para pendidik.

Seorang pendidik antirasis secara aktif bekerja untuk membongkar struktur, dasar, institusi, dan sistem yang menciptakan halangan dan mengabadikan ketaksamaan berdasarkan kaum untuk orang-orang yang berwarna.

Mendidik pelajar untuk melihat dan menghormati kemanusiaan dan martabat semua orang harus menjadi keperluan nasional, terutama jika kita ingin menyembuhkan dan mempunyai masa depan  sebagai sebuah negara.

Azizi Ahmad Solidaritas Sosial 24 April 2021

Lihat juga :

Pendidik boleh bantu atasi isu perkauman Malaysia Dateline Kolumnis 24 April 2021

Peranan pendidik membina toleransi meroboh rasisme Edisi 9 Pendapat 24 April 2021

Perlembagaan Persekutuan bukan bersifat perkauman

Dakwaan Perlembagaan Persekutuan (PP) menyogokkan unsur rasis sebab mengandungi banyak peruntukan mengenai kaum dan agama bukan sahaja melampau kerana langsung tidak berasas, ia juga bersifat rasis dalam pengertian ada pihak yang berburuk sangka dan menganggapnya sebagai menyorong penindasan oleh satu kaum ke atas yang lain.

Tidak dapat dinafikan ada banyak fasal kekauman di dalamnya, iaitu ehwal mengenai kaum yang kemudian disangkutkan pula kepada urusan bahasa, budaya dan agamanya.

Ini lumrahnya sebab kita sebuah masyarakat majmuk yang membenarkan setiap kaum terus bertutur dalam bahasa ibundanya, mengamal budaya diwarisi dan menganut sistem kepercayaan masing-masing.

Semua ini termaktub di dalam PP dalam konteks kekauman, iaitu peri hal kaum masing-masing dan tempatnya dalam negara pelbagai kaum.

Semangat kebebasan

PP tidak bersifat perkauman, iaitu menganjurkan kebencian, penindasan dan seumpamanya terhadap mana-mana kaum melalui sebarang fasal di dalamnya, sama ada mengenai agama, bahasa atau kedudukan kaum di negara yang penduduk dominannya Melayu.

Sebuah masyarakat majmuk yang membenarkan setiap kaum terus bertutur dalam bahasa ibundanya, mengamal budaya diwarisi dan menganut sistem kepercayaan masing-masing. - Gambar hiasan


Sebaliknya agama dan bahasa mengenai kaum lain dihuraikan bukan sahaja secara perundangan yang absah, tetapi juga dirawikan secara rundingan hemah yang disarati perasaan muhibah yang tinggi.

Perkara 3, 152 dan 153 di dalam PP yang sengaja mahu dilihat rasis oleh sesetengah pihak, sesungguhnya walaupun diteliti sepintas lalu tidak sekali-kali menganjurkan rasisme dalam apa-apa jua bentuk.

Walaupun Islam ditegaskan sebagai agama Persekutuan pada Perkara 3, ia pada yang sama ikut menekankan sekehendak hati kaum lain menganuti sistem kepercayaan lain di negara ini.

Begitu jugalah semangat kebebasan yang ada pada Perkara 152.

Meskipun bahasa Melayu bahasa kebangsaan dan hendaklah digunakan sebagai bahasa rasmi negara ini, bahasa lain tidak dihalang dari diajar, dipelajari dan digunakan kecuali dalam situasi rasmi. Perkara 153 pula menjamin keadilan untuk semua kaum.

Biarpun melindungi kedudukan istimewa kaum Melayu dan asal Sabah dan Sarawak dalam beberapa bidang, ia ikut memastikan kepentingan sah kaum lain terus terbela.

Semangat kekauman dijaga rapi dalam tiga fasal ini serta lain-lain, iaitu apa-apa berkenaan dengan kaum Melayu diadili sebanding dengan hak kaum bukan Melayu untuk beragama, berbahasa dan mencari nafkah di negara ini.

Keadilan sebanding ini berbentuk kekauman, yakni kepentingan kaum Melayu dan bukan Melayu diimbangi sebaik-baiknya dan tidak pun bersifat perkauman, iaitu wujudnya unsur penindasan untuk mengkesampingkan kaum lain supaya kaum Melayu terus istimewa.

Kita perlu mengetahui perbezaan makna pada kata kekauman dan perkauman, agar bukan sahaja konsepnya tepat, tetapi juga supaya penggunaannya tidak mengundang perselisihan faham yang boleh mencetuskan konflik kaum.

Penggunaan kata perkauman membawa maksud wujudnya penindasan dalam bentuk senda, maki, benci dan lain-lain yang buruk oleh satu kaum sebagai 'superior' terhadap yang lain sebagai 'inferior.'

Ia berbeza dengan kata kekauman yang memberi tumpuan secara neutral kepada peri hal kaum, sama ada ehwalnya ataupun yang lain-lain, dan tidak pun ada maksud penindasan dalam apa-apa jua cara.

Ia hanya merujuk kepada kaum dari pelbagai aspeknya tanpa ada pengertian mengenai kehebatan sesuatu kaum atau kelemahan yang lain.

Berbalik kepada PP yang kononnya dianggap rasis, khususnya bagi melangsaikannya melalui pelbagai kaedah, tidak dinafikan ia boleh disalah tafsir dan membawa kepada keadaan yang kelihatan semacam berat sebelah untuk memberi kelebihan kepada satu-satu kaum.

Kalau inilah keadaannya, PP itu tidak boleh sama sekali dituduh rasis. Bagaimanapun, pelaksanaan sesetengah peruntukannya yang tersasar itu boleh menyebabkannya kelihatan semacam bersifat rasis.

Dalam hal ini, perlu dibezakan PP selalu berbentuk kekauman, hanya pelaksanaannya kekadang boleh bersifat perkauman. Tidak menjadi kesalahan apabila kita semua kekauman.

Ini kerana itulah asas pembentukan negara kita, iaitu kemajmukan etnik dan kepelbagaian budaya. Ini tercermin dalam banyak institusi dan dasar negara bahawa kita sememangnya terdiri daripada berbagai-bagai kaum.

Justeru kita akan terus beraneka jenis dari segi kekauman kita, seperti yang dijamin dalam PP yang tidak pun perkauman.

Kenangan indah perpaduan kaum biar berpanjangan

Isu perpaduan dan perkauman tiba-tiba hangat dibicarakan baru-baru ini. Namun, sebenarnya ia bukan permasalahan besar di negara ini.

Meskipun sejak merdeka, rakyat Malaysia hidup berpaksikan dominasi tiga kaum terbesar iaitu Melayu, Cina dan India, keharmonian yang wujud membuktikan keamanan menjadi keutamaan semua kaum.

Pelbagai etnik di Sabah dan Sarawak juga menyumbang kepada keharmonian dan pembangunan negara.

Peristiwa 13 Mei 1969 memberi pengalaman besar kepada rakyat dan negara untuk bangkit menyatupadukan jiwa dan pemikiran masyarakat.

Pelbagai dasar dan program dilaksanakan demi penyatuan rakyat pelbagai bangsa sama ada di desa, bandar kecil atau kota raya.

Begitu juga melalui sektor pendidikan, integrasi kaum sesama pelajar dibentuk walaupun masih wujud sekolah jenis kebangsaan yang tidak mencerminkan kepelbagaian kaum dan perpaduan.

Namun, masih ada anak Melayu yang belajar di sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina, cuma jumlahnya agak kecil.

Belajar di sekolah Cina, bukan suatu masalah walaupun majoriti pelajarnya Cina.

Penulis ketika di Tingkatan Satu hingga Lima, belajar di sekolah menengah Cina yang agak terkenal di Alor Setar pada awal 1980-an.

Kami mengikut arahan guru dan pengetua. Walaupun, selepas alam persekolahan kami membawa haluan hidup masing-masing, secangkir kenangan itu mengajar kami betapa nikmatnya hidup dalam kepelbagaian budaya.

Ketika remaja, keluarga kami tinggal di sebuah perkampungan nelayan memiliki jiran India bernama Letchumi dan suaminya, Raja, seorang nelayan.

Apabila suaminya ke laut, Letchumi bermalam bersama ibu di rumah kami. Kenangan itu terus terpahat sehingga sekarang. Letchumi dan kami bagaikan saudara. Bila ibu tidak sihat, Letchumi turut menjaga ibu.

Kini Letchumi entah di mana selepas hampir 40 tahun tidak bertemu. Begitu juga seorang juru enjin bot nelayan bernama Ah Seng yang setiap hari meninggalkan basikalnya di bawah rumah kami.

Ah Seng terlalu rapat dengan ayah apalagi bekerja mencari rezeki di dalam bot yang sama. Ini sebahagian daripada kisah kehidupan rakyat negara ini yang dapat hidup bersama di tengah-tengah masyarakat yang sebenarnya.

Begitu juga di universiti, kami memiliki mahasiswa berketurunan Cina dan India yang agak rapat.

Ada yang akrab seperti anak sendiri. Insiden di Plaza Low Yat baru-baru ini yang disifatkan sesetengah pihak sebagai berbau perkauman tidak boleh dijadikan asas untuk kita hidup dalam suasana mementingkan kaum dan bangsa masing-masing.

Kebijaksanaan penting dalam menangani isu ini selain penguatkuasaan.

Oleh kerana manusia dilahirkan dalam pelbagai keturunan, pastinya soal memihak kepada kaum dan keturunan masing-masing tetap menjadi lumrah dan darah daging sampai bila-bila.

Falsafah kejayaan kaum Cina dalam perniagaan, mungkin boleh dipelajari sebagai penambahbaikan untuk orang Melayu walaupun ramai usahawan Melayu yang sudah berjaya.

Kejayaan mereka terbukti dalam penguasaan ekonomi di negara ini.

Pepatah Melayu ada menyatakan 'masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang lembu menguak'.

Pesanan orang tua-tua, jika pergi ke sesuatu tempat pandai-pandailah membawa diri. Apa maksud di sebalik analogi ini?

Pastinya ia mementingkan kewarasan berfikir memahami budaya setempat atau gaya berfikir dalam konteks kesaksamaan walaupun realitinya pandangan, budaya dan ideologi politik berbeza-beza.

Mahu hidup sejahtera

Inspirasi kita tetap sama untuk hidup sejahtera dan bahagia dengan semangat kejiranan dan pergaulan yang baik.

Perbezaan agama dan kepercayaan bukan permasalahan untuk masing-masing berbincang bersama dan makan bersama-sama, malah memiliki impian untuk meraih kejayaan dalam kehidupan berkeluarga, bermasyarakat dan bernegara.

Rakyat Malaysia perlu berfikir supaya harga kedamaian, kesejahteraan dan keamanan tidak menjadi rendah dan tidak berharga seperti di negara yang bergolak.

Ketika itu, harta dan keselesaan hidup yang ada sekarang ibarat sampah di jalanan.

Apalah makna kehidupan, apabila nyawa tidak menjadi keutamaan dan hidup dilingkari persengketaan, pergaduhan, perbalahan dan perselisihan pendapat berpanjangan.

Yang pergi, tidak akan kembali ke pangkuan kita. Yang tinggal hanya kenangan sama ada sahabat atau musuh.

Penyair Usman Awang dianggap legasi dalam memperjuangkan perpaduan menerusi karya kreatif.

Keikhlasan dan kejujuran menerapkan persoalan ini dalam karya kreatifnya menjadi kenangan terindah untuk masyarakat Malaysia.

Puisinya Anak Jiran Tionghua dan Salam Benua, antara yang memaparkan kepentingan hidup bersatu padu di dalam negara dan sejagat.

Penulis terharu menyaksikan 'youtube' seorang insan seni berketurunan Cina yang cacat tangannya bernama Ong Boo Siong memetik gitar menyampaikan puisi Salam Benua.

Percikan api kemarahan dan perkauman mudah dihamburkan, namun untuk memadamkannya bukan mudah.

Dalam fikiran masyarakat sudah dijelmakan pelbagai andaian, tanggapan dan persoalan yang adakalanya sukar dijawab dan ditangani.
Ghazali Din Berita Harian Kolumnis 29 Julai 2015

Labels should not be applied generally

IFIND the opinion expressed by Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim “Institutionalised racism is scary” (NST, July 21) fascinating, if perplexing. There is no reason to doubt what was written.

Not least from a respected former civil servant with vast and eminent experience in public service, which is now alleged to be part of the “institutionalised racism”.

This is certainly a “new” label with “loaded” ramifications, going beyond the usual lamentations of “overzealous bureaucrats and little Napoleons imposing their social and religious values on Malaysians”.

The dubious choice of words: “institutionalised racism” has catapulted the issue to a new high, rightly or wrongly. While nit-picking on the public sector, practically nothing is said about the private sector.

Are we to deduce that the latter is racism-free, let alone with no “institutionalised” form to talk about? Or is the omission deliberate due to the acute lack of information or experience in dealing with them.

Whatever the reason(s), the article has given a rather distorted view of the so-called “institutionalised racism”. This is further worsened by generalising it with reference to the “New Economic Policy, special position of Malays and Islam” as an “excuse” for the racist actions. Implying those who are not beneficiaries of the above, in one way or another, can be safely regarded as non-racists!

The article seems to be oblivious to the entire partisan politics that is racially based. How this escapes the storyline is quite puzzling, especially when politics in Malaysia almost always cuts across all ethnic lines and religious beliefs.

In fact, there are those who even claim that racial politics are the root to chauvinist policies not only in Malaysia but the world over. While it is apt to urge “those who walk the corridors of power to discard racial and religious ideologies” — the question is how to do this effectively unless the offending political undertones are dealt with just as effectively?

Many are anxiously awaiting to be enlightened on ways to dismantle the political overbearance, which in turn will do away with many of the concerns of “institutional racism” as claimed. For instance, how do “our leaders (must) start with educating the civil servant, government ministries” and what have you, given the dominant political realities?

Yes, the police are doing their level best admirably, but is this not the same force that is allegedly being “shunned” by the “non-Malays” for fear of racism.


 The low numbers of non-Malays/Bumiputra in uniformed service has more to do with cultural perceptions.
In other words, admittedly, the police force (as represented by the IGP) does not exhibit the said “institutionalised racism” after all!

Now, let me take just three particular issues raised based on my university experience.

FIRST, Biro Tata Negara (BTN). Whatever has been said, it is important to point out there are other clandestine BTNs.

While in the university, without fail, students of different ethnic and religious groups were taken out by different proxies of political entities for “retreat” or “camp-out” programmes periodically.

Those who were uncomfortable with such programmes related what they went through, and it was not unlike what the BTN has been accused of. The observations and arguments put up in the article, though having its merits, are at best myopic!;

SECOND, the police and military force being shunned. Based on the experiences for the recruitment of reserved officers (Palapes) or police cadets (Suksis) as part of co-curriculum in the universities, the low number of non-Malays/Bumiputeras has more to do with cultural perceptions.

For the Chinese and Indians, Palapes and Suksis do not list high on their priority. They would rather opt for other uniformed groups such as the Red Crescent, St John’s Ambulance and the like. Not the military-type.

These groups are considered more representative because they are not biased by issues of salary scale, or safety and security (as in real life situations) even though Palapes and Suksis do conduct military-type training as part of the course. So the implied racist factor is indeed very minimal, if at all; and,

THIRD, the word “pendatang” which has been raised yet again. No doubt, it is insulting for any citizen of a country to be called as such.

As cited, a black “African-American” being called “nigger” (which somehow is equated to “pendatang” in the article) is unwarranted.

However, the point not to be missed is that they are all “Americans”. It is equally important to highlight that they are not American-Africans or American-Chinese which conveys all together a very different connotation of who they are.

Unfortunately, the latter is the Malaysian case, a very fundamental issue which can be traced back to racial-based realpolitik! This is the Malaysian tragedy that must be urgently addressed.

However, this should be by selectively applying jaundiced labels resulting in the entire public/government sector being irresponsibly tarred by the broad brush of “institutional racism” for some sinister reasons. Indeed, it is this act that is exactly scary!

Understand the past, present and future

Understand the past, present and future

IN his response to Tan Sri’s Mohd Sheriff's article, “Institutionalised racism is scary”, (NST, July 21) M. Arof (“Why castigate the Malays” — NST, July 23) argued that the Malay’s rights should not be construed as promoting racism.

His arguments are valid and indeed the status of all native people all over the world is similar in their natural instinct to ensure survival in the land of their ancestor's birthplace. Having said that, in the current context, how we view and handle the idea of racism, regardless of our ethnic origins, require delicate care and consideration.

Idealism described in textbooks or by a select group of people who label themselves as liberals, intelligentsia or whatever, is not the sole determinant of the path a nation or its people will pursue.

I am a Malay and Muslim. I am very proud of my race and at the same time, I am a Malaysian. I am proud of my country and of all of its citizens, too, Malays or otherwise. What is wrong with such notion?

If any Malaysian were to stand up and be proud of their race, religion or culture, is it really scary and dangerous as some of us would like to portray it?

There is nothing complicated about having your own ethnic identity and, at the same time, building a great nation which provides fair opportunities for all its citizens, if we do not try to be bigger than ourselves by following ideals or principles that are short-sighted.

Instead our individual common sense should prevail. Any nation that has endured centuries of nation building and the challenges associated with the process has one key trait: they don’t forget their history, always acknowledge the present and have clarity on their bearings of the future.

Therefore, for this nation of ours to become great and endure centuries of challenges, we must, on an individual level, understand the need to balance between these three factors, which will determine whether we are victorious or otherwise.

If all of us truly seek to understand our past, agree on our vision of the future and accept the conditions of the present, why would we castigate any race, religion or culture?

Do we even need to position supremacy and racism as a goal or worthy ideals respectively?

Great nations are built by leaders who can successfully balance the three factors of past, present and future to shape citizens, who will inculcate the same strong and virtuous characters necessary to build a society that can succeed, without relying on narrow and oppressive ideals such as supremacy.

Therefore, we must resist backtracking as a nation. Sugiman Sabri, Kulim Kedah. NST Letters 23 July 2015

Why castigate the Malays?

I REFER to Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff’s article “Institutionalised racism is scary” (NST, July 21). Native Malays are a much maligned race in Malaysia. They are routinely accused of racism, and worse, institutionalised racism in all matters, political, economic, cultural, recreational, just anything.

I lay the blame on people with shallow liberalism and those who unknowingly or deliberately belittle and demonise natives, an attitude that did not disappear with the end of colonialism.

These people would not spend a moment to try to understand the natives. Every community in the world, whether states, ethnic groups, football clubs, etc. all have their inherent and natural interests and concerns which we have to understand. And, more so if the community is in its ancient homeland.

The Malays or Rumpun Melayu, including the Orang Asli who share the same ancestry, according to DNA studies, have been in the Malay peninsula for more than 60,000 years, since man first set foot in Southeast Asia, having migrated from Africa. Just 500 and 150 years ago respectively came the Europeans, and Chinese and Indians.

The Europeans brought colonialism and Chinese and Indians dominated the economy, professions and administration. A similar situation developed elsewhere in the world where the native populations became dominated politically, administratively and economically by colonialists and immigrant populations.

For the vast majority of these countries, when independence came the natives failed to free themselves from the political, economic and administrative domination of those who came from other lands. This was the case even in countries where the natives still formed the majority of the population, such as in South America.

Ask the liberals, whether it is fair that these natives should remain subjugated in their homelands even after independence? Are they being just to the natives when they call for meritocracy and equality?

Just because the liberal elites dominate institutions such as the United Nations, World Bank and international media, does not mean that the natives have no justifiable interests that should be protected by special provisions in the constitution.

In the case of Malaysia, the Malays rightly sought to reclaim their position in their own homeland. They did so, not because they were racists, but because it was their just and inherent right. Natives in a similar position anywhere in the world would have done the same.

Even the Han natives of China reclaimed all their positions when the Manchu Empire ended.

Hence, provisions were placed in the Constitution of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu and later Malaysia to ensure that the Malay/Pribumi natives regained their positions.

These provisions are not a case of institutional racism. Racism is a case of crude discrimination with no justifications whatsoever, except skin colour, as was the case in apartheid South Africa.

The constitutional provisions recognise the special position of the Malays and other natives that even the British recognised as the basis of their administration in Malaya.

There is nothing racist about this. Additionally, those who care to truly know the Malays should understand that, even during the British colonial era, the Malays were not a racist people.

I find it odd that Tan Sri is suggesting that we recognise racism. Why straightaway castigate the Malays, but nothing is mentioned about the others!

Historically, the Malays have always had a very open culture and were hospitable to other people.

. Delegates showing support for party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Umno general assembly last year. File pic


The Malays have a saying — Dagang lalu ditanakkan, anak sendiri kelaparan (To put the interest of others above oneself or one’s family).

In the 150-year history of Chinese and Indian migrations to Malaya, there was not a single incident of Malays attacking the immigrants.

On the other hand, the Malays were attacked, as in the case of the Lukut massacre in 1834. At independence, the Malays agreed to share political power but no provisions were made to share economic power. It is precisely because the Malays were not culturally racist that there was a need to insert constitutional provisions (the so-called institutional racism) to protect them.

If they were culturally and inherently racist, why did they feel the need to show it openly in the form of provisions in the Constitution?

They could have practised racial discrimination quietly, like many culturally racist ethnic groups in the world. It is easy to deny that one practises racism when it is done quietly.

Just be sure to accuse the other party of being racist first and do so regularly. To accuse the Malays of supremacism is to spread falsehood. Ketuanan Melayu is not Malay supremacism.

Malays have never made this claim. It is their detractors who say so. And critics, including liberal Malays and foreign commentators, choose to listen to them rather than allow the Malays to explain the meaning of the term.

If Malays are racists, Malay supremacist organisations would have appeared as soon as Merdeka was proclaimed in 1957. Only in the past few years have some Malay rights groups — not supremacists — appeared and these have to do with the serious provocations and insults against the Malays.

And, it is precisely these provocations and insults that we have to pay attention to if we are to safeguard the future of the country.

The Malays recognise non-Malays as citizens with rights and legitimate interests, as provided for in the Constitution.

But, equal rights should not cause the Malays to lose their homeland as has happened in many South American countries.

The rights of the natives of the world have to be recognised. Without constitutional provisions to ensure that their interests are protected, natives everywhere will be helpless against meritocracy, equality, etc. because the descendants of the colonial and immigrant communities have a vast advantage over them.

As Socrates, the Greek philosopher said, don’t be duped into thinking that you are courageous when you go into a contest where the other side has clear advantages. That is foolishness!

Thus, we do not need liberals to urge the Malays to be dignified, stop being racist and instead go headlong into a meritocratic contest, and end up like Socratic fools.

Pure meritocracy where the stronger has advantages, and in the Malaysian context this is associated with race, would just be a legitimised and institutionalised form of racism, but a subtle and respectable one.

Emphasise communality, Need to build on strength to reach greater heights

SOME say that the Plaza Low Yat incident should not have happened in our multicultural setting after almost 60 years of independence, which has fostered a bond among our ethnic groups.

But when one examines the underlying factors, it was an incident waiting to happen. Contrary to some considered opinion, which attributes the incident to the plight of the urban poor, it reflects fundamental ingrained issues.

Basically, there is a lack of effort at integrating the ethnic groups in our plural society. Our Unity Department has a proclivity for ceremonial expressions of unity rather than addressing the core issues that would foster a harmonious existence among our ethnic groups.

As usual, we tend to treat the symptom rather than the cause. There is a lack of pre-emptive vigilance, not only to anticipate but also to address the causes that could provoke such unwarranted incidents.

Our problem is that we are too complacent and in denial. There is a dire need to create an atmosphere of trust and harmony, understanding, caring and sharing among our multiethnic people. There is also the need to emphasise communality rather than differences.

To foster these values, it is imperative that we set up avenues for the ethnic groups to engage and interact not just during official celebrations but also in their daily lives. However, this is not possible considering our educational and political systems, as well as occupational racial dispositions.

The existing educational system of parallel national and vernacular streams segregates the young from day one. Malays send their children to national schools while the Chinese and Indians choose the vernacular streams. Such a system prevents young minds from mingling and interacting with one another.

Harmony Day is dedicated to celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity.

It is at this age of innocence not shackled by prejudices and schism that could easily foster an engaging multiracial community.

When the children grow up within their cultural milieu, they would invariably form a biased attitude towards their own kind.

But they are not to be blamed because the system calcifies their world view into a myopic perspective.

We, therefore, need an educational system with a medium of instruction that appeals to all, but without sacrificing the sanctity of the national language.

Further, political parties need to be sensitive when promoting their agenda so that they do not impinge on the rights of other communities.

Political parties should cease their adversarial stance and work with one another for the good of the nation and the people.

This divisiveness is also reflected in the occupational dispositions. Malays work in government ministries and agencies, the Chinese gravitate towards corporate sectors, while the Indians are spread thin all over, but with a sizeable number who are successful professionals.

Such a situation does not present opportunities for racial integration and engagement. Despite this compartmentalisation, the ground-level efforts by individuals, social and recreational groups, as well as certain non-governmental organisations developed camaraderie through their activities that transcend racial schism.

For example, the first charitable organisation to send food and supplies to tsunami-stricken Pulau Betong in Penang in 2005 was the Tzu Chi Buddhist Organisation.

Likewise, the same organisation rendered help in the recent Kelantan floods. These individuals and organisations are stellar examples of harmonious coexistence, caring and understanding.

The authorities can learn from them. We must treat each other as human beings, God’s creatures having hopes and aspirations, and the right to exist in God’s acres. We need to exorcise our inhibitions, prejudices and bigotry, and replace them with respect, understanding, caring and sharing so that the nation will prosper and provide a haven for all our children. Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin,Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang NST Letters 22 July 2015

Need to build on strength to reach greater heights

THERE have been recent proposals to make racism illegal in the interest of unity in our country.

We have to contemplate use of the law to prohibit exploiting what defines and makes us unique! Malaysia and its people have repeatedly been referred to, by Malaysians and foreigners, as “multiracial, multicultural and multireligious, living in peace and harmony”.

On the occasion of our independence 58 years ago, our first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, declared: “... from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility... At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves... to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty — a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world. High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed”.

Powerful words indeed, which have propelled us along, with the dedication of our people to these high and noble ideals, to where we are today.

Despite encountering some bumps en route, we have, and must endeavour to avoid using identity, in any form, as a “default” to tolerate inequality and discrimination or how we relate to each other.

Home, school, playground, workplace and the community were where we had in the past so amiably lived, played, studied and worked together.

Our differences were never a barrier; rather they strengthened our bonds of togetherness.

Any misdemeanour or irresponsible utterance that can provoke breaking our unity cannot be tolerated and must be dealt with swiftly in accordance with established norms.

Let us not allow such incidents to so destroy all that we have achieved over the years; these must be built on to greater heights, together as one nation and people. Rueben Dudley,Petaling Jaya, Selangor NST Letters 22 July 2015

Institutionalised racism is scary

THE mob violence at Plaza Low Yat, Kuala Lumpur, and worse, blog statements by groups trying to instigate a wider racial conflict as well as the pathetic attempts by some to justify the thuggish behaviour of the rioters as a legitimate expression of frustration on the part of Malays, indicate that racism is a big challenge to peace and racial unity.

It is time, as CIMB Group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said recently, to outlaw and criminalise hate speeches and racism. The first step towards banning racism is to recognise its existence and this must come from the political leadership, which we saw in the United States when President Barack Obama told the nation in a televised address that it was difficult for America to hold its head high as a world leader in democracy and to lecture other nations on human rights when there were frequent incidents of hate shootings by whites against blacks and when there is racial discrimination in workplaces or university campuses.

He had used the derogatory word “nigger” to refer to blacks (a word no longer polite to use because of its insulting meaning), saying they were regarded as inferior people because they were descendants of slaves.

His strong words pricked the conscience of the nation and led to the momentous decision by the South Carolina state legislature, following the hate shooting by a young white male who killed nine black worshippers in a church, to pull down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol.

A rally against school integration in the US in 1959.

The flag had flown in public for over a century to commemorate the state’s leading role in the civil war, which the Confederate south fought against the north to demand the right of whites to use slaves.

When the flag was pulled down in a ceremony a few days ago, the event was viewed as a historic break from the past, a symbolic admission of guilt over the unfair treatment of the black population. It also gave closure to the families whose loved ones died for no other reason than being black.

In Malaysia, we have to emulate the US to ban words used as racial slurs. For example, the word pendatang is as insulting to Chinese and Indians as the word “nigger” is to African-Americans.

Then we have Biro Tata Negara (BTN), which has been criticised because its training programme, ostensibly aimed at instilling love and loyalty in people for the nation, is tainted with racial bigotry to remind civil service trainees and government scholarship holders that this country owes its progress and existence to Malays.

BTN is like the Confederate flag mentioned above, a reminder of racial supremacy of the majority over the minority. Further, we have textbooks on history and civics whose contents sound racial to the discerning ear. I am sure others will have better ideas on what other symbols we should pull down to eliminate racial as well as religious supremacy.

Let us not hide the fact that racism exists in our schools and universities, in the civil service and other institutions of government, with overzealous bureaucrats and little Napoleons imposing their social and religious values on Malaysians.

Often the excuse given for their racist actions is that based on their interpretation of the constitution, “social contract”, New Economic Policy, and special position of Malays and Islam, what they are doing is right. It’s just too bad that non-Malays have shunned national schools, government service, police or the military because they cannot accept the system.

This ambivalent attitude towards the segregation of races cannot go on if we want the races to study, work and live together. We should look at the US Bill of Rights to study how they did it to end segregation and unite whites and blacks in schools and in workplaces.

Today, although racism exists in America, it’s no longer institutionalised. An employer in America and Britain can get sued if he discriminates against an employee on grounds of race, colour or religion.

Nowadays, you see many black faces at the White House and many Asians at the British Parliament. That shows how far the Americans and the British have come in their struggle to improve race relations.

The lesson for us in Malaysia is that although it’s human nature for one race to find fault with other races and there is nothing the government can do about personal prejudices, but what the government can do at an official level is to not condone racism in the law and in the system of justice as well as in the functioning of the government.

In fact, it is incumbent upon the government to condemn hate speeches, racial and religious bigotry among school heads and teachers and discriminatory practices in the civil service to demonstrate that such behaviour will not be tolerated under the law.

Racism is bad but institutionalised racism is scary in a multiracial country like Malaysia. Investors and businesses and our managers and professionals will lose hope for the future and abandon this country, putting us back to where we were at the time of independence.

If Malaysia becomes a failed state, those who suffer most are Malays. If Plaza Low Yat is closed for ever, tourism will be affected by the bad publicity across the world and many Malays will lose their jobs. In this regard, the public is most grateful to the inspector-general of police for his firm action in arresting the culprits responsible for the Low Yat violence, without fear or favour.

The police action has restored confidence in the area for business to resume. This is a change that we hope will lead to other improvements in dealing with those who issue hate speeches to incite racial clashes.

Our leaders must start with educating the civil service, government ministries and religious authorities that they have to accept change as a part of national development.

Those who walk the corridors of power have to discard racial and religious ideologies and, instead, think of the larger interest of the nation.

As the experience of Greece is showing us, it’s better that we make the change ourselves before it is forced on us by external forces. My heart would bleed if a prime minister of this country were to face the same situation as the Greek prime minister, who had to plead with Parliament to pass the law to accept the austerity measures imposed on Greece by foreign creditors and their demand for immediate reforms.

We in Malaysia should undertake economic, education and religious reforms while the going is good. We must not let race and religion be the cause of our Greek tragedy.

'Perkauman' baru di Singapura

RUSUHAN yang meletus dengan tiba-tiba di Singapura tidak sahaja menggemparkan rakyatnya yang selama lebih 40 tahun menikmati kestabilan dan kedamaian. Malah turut mengejutkan dunia yang tidak terfikir perkara ini akan berlaku di negara yang diketahui tinggi taraf keselamatannya.

Ini bukanlah rusuhan kaum kerana anasir perkauman telah terkawal di Singapura dengan kejayaan pemerintahan bekas Perdana Menteri, Lee Kuan Yew membawa perubahan sosioekonomi dan politik menerusi implementasi dasar yang dinamik dan drastik berasaskan ketegasan undang-undang, disiplin yang keras dan prinsip moral yang tinggi.

Berasaskan sejarah maka tentulah masih tetap dalam pemikiran dan persepsi kerjaan Singapura bahawa kaum Melayulah yang paling berpotensi untuk melakukan rusuhan dan kekacauan. Kemungkinan melibatkan rakyat keturunan Cina dan India adalah paling rendah.

Bahawa kemungkinan rusuhan akan berbangkit daripada pekerja asing tentulah di luar perhitungan kerajaan sama sekali. Tetapi inilah yang telah berlaku pada Ahad lalu di Singapura.

Rusuhan itu berlaku di Little India, Serangoon Road dan Race Course yang sejak zaman penjajah British lagi menjadi kawasan perniagaan dan kediaman kaum India. Kedatangan pekerja asing dan penghijrah dari India ke Singapura juga tertumpu di kawasan ini untuk tinggal, bertemu, berhibur, menjamu selera dan sebagainya.

RUSUHAN yang berlaku di Singapura baru-baru ini tercetus dari


bibit-bibit perasaan tidak puas hati warga asing terhadap
warga Singapura yang dikatakan angkuh dan terlalu kebaratan.

Sekali pandang rusuhan itu bukanlah bersifat perkauman tetapi tercetus akibat kemarahan dalam keadaan mabuk pekerja asing dari Asia Selatan (India dan Bangladesh) kerana marahkan sebuah bas melanggar seorang rakan mereka yang kemudian terbunuh.

Berlakunya serangan terhadap anggota polis, petugas keselamatan, kereta polis dan lain-lain kenderaan tentulah mengingatkan generasi lama terhadap rusuhan berdarah di Singapura melibatkan orang Islam kerana membantah pengambilan semula anak angkat seorang Islam oleh ibu bapanya, orang Belanda dan juga rusuhan perkauman Melayu-Cina pada 1964.

Jelas rusuhan kali ini tidak membangkitkan prasangka buruk antara kaum, tiada khabar angin yang menimbulkan kecemasan dan ketakutan sebaliknya keyakinan rakyat tetap mantap terhadap keselamatan. Tetapi mereka kebingungan dalam mencari jawapan yang tepat di sebalik analisis mudah mengatakan perbuatan orang mabuk. Jawapan pihak berkuasa juga mudah iaitu dengan menutup tempat minum arak di kawasan tertentu.

Sokongan

Ini adalah penyelesaian sementara tetapi masalah yang berpanjangan ialah kejadian ini pastinya akan menebalkan lagi perasaan prejudis rakyat Singapura terhadap pendatang asing. Selain itu ia akan memperkuatkan lagi sokongan rakyat terhadap parti-parti pembangkang Singapura yang telah pun menjuarai penentangan terhadap dasar pintu terbuka kerajaan Singapura terhadap pekerja asing dan penghijrah dari negara luar.

Walaupun dasar terbuka menampakkan penerimaan untuk menjadi penduduk tetap dan juga pekerja asing terbuka kepada semua negara, tetapi keutamaan adalah kepada rakyat dari negara Republik Rakyat China. Tetapi dasar yang tersirat ialah tertutup kepada bangsa Indonesia.

Bagaimanapun dasar ini tidak dapat memujuk rakyat Singapura kerana mereka tidak melihat ancaman dari segi perkauman tetap pekerja asing dan penghijrah dari mana pun akan menambahkan populasi dan menghakis kualiti kehidupan, menimbulkan masalah dari segi infrastruktur, pengangkutan, kenaikan harga rumah, menyekat kenaikan gaji, persaingan dalam peluang pekerjaan dan lain-lain masalah sosial.

Bagaimanapun Menteri Mentor Singapura, Kuan Yew tetap berpegang teguh kepada pendiriannya bahawa masa depan Singapura terancam tanpa pekerja asing dan penghijrah kerana jumlah kelahiran di Singapura sangat rendah.

"Jika kita tidak mengambil pekerja asing atau penghijrah maka kita akan gagal, " katanya dalam bukunya One Man's View of The World (halaman 208) dan juga di dalam banyak ucapan dan kenyataannya.

Dasar terbuka Singapura setakat ini telah menyebabkan 40.7 peratus dari lebih 5 juta rakyat Singapura terdiri dari orang asing. Menurut Wikipedia satu dari setiap tiga orang yang tinggal di Singapura adalah orang luar. Terdapat 20 peratus pemastautin tetap dan 7.2 peratus bukan penduduk.

Kuan Yew mungkin tidak begitu bimbang dengan perkembangan yang ditempah ini kerana beliau yakin kepada kemantapan nilai-nilai keperibadian dan keselamatan Singapura yang diasas dan diterapnya sejak 40 tahun lalu. Malah beliau pernah berkata akan bangun dari kuburnya untuk menghalang sesiapa yang cuba merungkaikannya.

Bagaimanapun penerapan nilai ini berlaku ke atas generasi yang bangun bersama dengannya dan juga generasi baru Singapura, tetapi tidak mungkin difahami dan diresapi oleh pendatang asing dari berbagai negara dan budaya berbanding dengan kesebatian jati diri rakyat Singapura.

Kepada orang asing terutama dari China, sifat orang Cina Singapura yang kebaratan dan menampakkan keangkuhan tentunya tidak menyenangkan mereka. Kajian yang dijalankan oleh seorang pensyarah sosiologi Universiti National Singapura, Chang Han Yin tahun 1999 mendapati generasi muda Singapura mahu menjadi caucasian atau Jepun dari dikenali dengan identiti Cina.

Maka itulah sebabnya seorang sarjana dari China di Universiti National Singapura, Sun Xu telah menulis dalam blognya bahawa di Singapura lebih banyak anjing dari manusia. Ini telah menimbulkan kemarahan rakyat Singapura dan dikesali oleh Perdana Menteri, Lee Hsien Loong.

Malah orang Cina Malaysia terutamanya yang tebal dengan perkauman Cina walaupun memandang tinggi kepada Singapura dan bekerja di negara itu tetapi tidak begitu selesa dengan masyarakat Cina Singapura kerana perbezaan keperibadian.

Terkesan

Sekalipun hubungan mesra wujud antara kaum India dan Cina Singapura tetapi ini sukar untuk dihayati oleh pendatang asing dari India yang terkesan oleh permusuhan geopolitik antara negara China dan India. Perasaan yang mendalam ini tidak mungkin luput hanya kerana berada di Singapura tanpa melalui proses pendidikan dan sosialisasi yang panjang dengan masyarakat Singapura.

Terdapat tulisan dalam Straits Times Singapura oleh rakyat Singapura yang marah kerana bendera Singapura tidak dinaikkan di Little India pada hari kebangsaan Singapura yang lalu. Sikap angkuh sesetengah rakyat Singapura juga telah menebalkan lagi perasaan benci dan dendam kesumat yang telah sedia ada dalam kalangan pekerja asing dari India. Mereka hanya menunggu kesempatan untuk meluahkan perasaan marah mereka.

Orang Melayu Malaysia juga menghadapi masalah yang sama dengan rakyat Indonesia yang menyimpan perasaan cemburu dan marah kepada kemakmuran Malaysia dengan mengambil kesempatan atas sesuatu isu untuk menunjuk perasaan marah sama ada di Indonesia atau di Malaysia.

Kuan Yew dalam proses pembentukan bangsa Singapura pernah memberitahu keturunan India di Singapura, "Ini adalah Singapura dan bukan India" apabila golongan pro dan anti Indira Gandhi mahu menimbulkan kekecohan di negara itu berikutan pembunuhannya.

Bagaimanapun keadaannya telah berbeza sekarang. Kemajuan politik Singapura, dunia siber yang tidak terkawal, tekanan ekonomi dan sebagainya telah menyulitkan lagi usaha untuk mempertahankan cara Kuan Yew menangani krisis dengan langkah yang bersifat autoritarian.

Mungkin pihak keselamatan Singapura pun tidak lagi bertindak dalam semangat Kuan Yew bagi menangani krisis di luar jangkaan dengan tangkas dan tegas yang menyebabkan 25 kenderaan awam dan 16 kereta polis rosak dibakar dan dimusnahkan selain 39 anggota polis dan petugas keselamatan cedera dalam masa rusuhan yang singkat.

Setiap pemimpin negara di hujung hidupnya ingin melihat penerusan dasar, prinsip dan nilai-nilai yang dibina yang ditinggalkan tetapi ramai yang meninggal dalam keadaan kecewa kerana melihat keruntuhan harapan mereka. Inilah yang berlaku kepada Soekarno dan Soeharto dan sedang disaksikan oleh Tun Dr. Mahathir dan Kuan Yew.

Pada akhir hayatnya, Kuan Yew telah melihat pementasan semula tragedi rusuhan ganas Singapura yang telah dipadamkannya lebih 40 tahun dahulu.



Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 20131215