Friday, October 26, 2012

Singapore's Malays and Indians have only themselves to blame

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We cannot forget that before anyone else, Singapore was the home of the Malays as they were in neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia. The British who colonized the island brought the Chinese and Indians to work in the island, but the Malays had more rights to it above anyone else. It was their island.

To recognize this fact, by law the national language was declared Malay although business was better conducted in English.

But come 1959 and the advent of Lee Kuan Yew and the Lee Ruling family, comprised now of father and son, the father being the strongman Lee Kuan Yew and his son the Prime Minister whom he appointed, the island began taking an ethnic Chinese appearance, something which I am sure no one ever intended, let alone the founder of Singapore the Englishman Stamford Raffles.

Remember in the 1950s ethnic Chinese only formed about 50% of the island. Today with planeloads of Chinese immigrants being brought daily from Communist China, it is about 77%.

It appears, Lee Kuan Yew, who is the dictator since 1959, like Fidel Castro’s Cuba, a person of Chinese ethnicity decided that he didn't care too much for the Malays or anyone else and that he will turn it into a Chinese island with ethnic Chinese given preferred status over others.

Today all top jobs in every walk of life and top businesses are all in the hands of ethnic Chinese, while Malays, to whom the island actually belonged, a tragic irony, are relegated to being coolies and street sweepers. The Singapore Indians fare no better.

The Lee Ruling Family claims that the situation is justified because of meritocracy, a lie which rings completely hollow. Malay or an Indian Singaporean is not any inferior to any ethnic Chinese. Their disadvantageous position is not due to any fault on their part. It is because, Singapore’s Lee Ruling family denies them jobs at every opportunity, there is no race relations laws and employers who are almost entirely Chinese refuse to employ them, leaving them only the demeaning jobs which no one else wants.

And this disgusting official policy of racial discrimination has been going on for the last 53 years, ever since Singapore obtained limited self rule form the British.

There is no doubt that the ethnic Chinese Lee Ruling Family's racial discriminatory policies are clearly illegal under the Constitution but they have managed to get away with it because of the indifference of Malays and Indians to their plight.

The Malays and Indians of Singapore have simply done nothing to stop Lee Ruling Family's ongoing racial discriminatory policies. There has been no public protest or any expression of outrage or indignation by them against these illegal government policies which marginalizes and turns them into second rate citizens in an island which had in fact belonged to them in the first place.

Sadly, the Malays who are predominantly Muslim have been simply content living under Lee Kuan Yew's laws which continue to discriminate against them. There are no leaders among the Malay community who care enough to stand up against this abuse of their rights. They are all afraid of Lee Kuan Yew and his threats to lock them up and throw away the key if they openly challenged Lee's unjust laws and policies. The Indians are no different; they have no leaders either and every single one of them is so afraid of Lee Kuan Yew, they dare not even squeak.

It is true that Lee is a dictator who is determined to make Singapore into a completely Chinese city and their race the dominating ruling race. It is also true that what he does is simply illegal. But the fault equally lies with the Malay Muslims and Indians because they can stand up against this abuse and illegal discrimination but they instead choose not to and simply accept whatever life Lee decides for them.

One can only surmise that Singapore’s Malays and Indians are a cowardly people who are so afraid of the Lee Ruling Family to the extent that they prefer a life in submission and acceptance to the danger that may befall them if they fight. A people who simply let some else ride roughshod over them is simply cowardly. No other word can better describe them.

Here is an example of a Malay whom I know. He is Jufrie Mahmood, presently the Chairman of the opposition SDP. He is a good man. I know him personally. He is someone who is clearly interested in Singapore’s politics and the plight of the Malays. He was a long time Workers Party member with JB Jeyaretnam and me. He passionately wants to help his fellow Malays. He sees the injustice being done to them. It cannot be denied that he has paid a painful price for his beliefs at Lee's hands. One cannot fault him for not caring for his people. It is not my intention to criticize him at all. Yet he, except for joining the SDP and writing essays about the injustice, simply refuses to publicly protest or engage in civil disobedience or organize any peaceful demonstration along the streets of Singapore to demand that Lee stops such illegal practices. Without such open protest, which the Malays simply refuse to do, the world is not aware of how shabbily the Lee Ruling Family treat them. Which by the way, conveniently allows the Lees to continue running them down.

Other than him, there are no other Malay leaders in Singapore. A couple of Malays serve in Lee’s government. They are not Malay leaders. They are there only to enrich themselves. They are a disgrace. There is no point in talking about them.

Gopalan Nair 
Singaporean by birth in exile
Attorney at Law 
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 4375 


Anonymous said...

In a multi-racial society, like SIngapore, you would think that there are benefits in having children attend schools where they can mix with kids of different races. These interactions would foster understanding and tolerance, and prepared these children for adult lives where they have to work and live amongst different races.

But, guess Lee Kuan Yew did? He sent his two sons to a Chinese school, that is full of ethnic Chinese. LHL and brother did not have classmates called Gopalan or Anwar or D'Souza. Their classmates where Lim, Chong, Wang, Tan, ...

Those who lament at the current state of racism in Singapore, should have looked at LKY decision to know the true feelings in his little racist heart!

Anonymous said...

@Gopalan Nair:


I refer to your comment about the (two) Malays serving in the government.

You may be pleased to note that at least one of them has a BLOT hole to YOUR COUNTRY considering the fact that his (KNOWN) wife and (KNOWN) brood of two (a son and a daughter) are UNITED STATES OF AMERICAN (USA) CITIZENS.

I will of course, NOT mention doctor yaacob bin ibrahim by name.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is absolutely right.

I personally realized in my previous company where they were constantly hiring people refused to hire one of my good malay friend just because my manager who is a chinese lady thinks malays are not good enough for the job. I told her this is not right but i was scolded too to speak against her. these chinese people either from China or Singapore are just here to keep chinese people above par and oppress others. So sad to see fellow Singaporeans to be treated worse than foreigners by chinese.

Towkay said...

Gopal, I think the actual issues are a lot more complex than simple racism to explain the fading fortunes of Singapore's minority populations.

Like you, I'm old enough to remember that the ability to converse in Malay was a source of pride for many local-born Chinese and a sign of distinction for the elites. It evoked Peranakan connections and colonial era favoritism politics. As late as the 90s, Singapore was still making significant overtures to the West, including negotiations for hosting significant American military assets which ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. In that context of Western-facing geopolitics, multiculturalism is an important strength and asset.

However, without a significant existent Caucasian ruling class (to appease the West), the story that unfolded over the last 20 years was predictably China-centric instead (perhaps even to the chagrin of the still-ruling Peranakan elites). Singapore today no longer "needs" the UK or even the US, as much as it does China for its economic survival. And I believe that the societal changes (and marginalization of Malays and Indians) are a mirror of that.

Without a doubt, overt racism against Malays and Indians exists today. But they have always existed, and they exist also between the various Chinese dialect factions and especially against recent mainland immigrants (many of whom are of the still-foreign Northern Chinese ancestry). These attitudes have not changed. What did change was the prevailing economic realities.

The Singapore PAP administration has been nothing if not pragmatic and many of the pro-Chinese education policies reflect the economic realities of being economically-dependent on China.

Simply put, I think that future economic (and political) success of Malays and Indians will require Mandarin proficiency (just as English proficiency has been so important). And the sooner people accept this reality, the better they will be able to take advantage of the opportunities.

Not amy cheong of the NTUC said...

@Gopalan Nair:

If you wish, you may like to do an internet search for these terms:

" good bad baggage pests root cause wayang routine tarnish money leeches topple abandon ship ".

Next, you may like to check these out:

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"Not amy cheong of the National Trades Union Congress"