Perhaps it may well be, that this essay is a 3rd class ridicule dressed in high-browed prose. That does not alter my perception of what Huzir Sulaiman’s essay really is. The short essay by Huzir Sulaiman, touched upon by Mat Chendana and reproduced by the blogger Omong, has one intention. It is actually a subtle indictment on the assumed political incorrectness of the thinking of the majority, meaning us. That political incorrectness demands that Malays disown and abandon what are dear to them- the bedrock fundamentals of Malay leadership. What Huzir’s writing represents is an invitation for Malays to water down their nationalism for liberalism, reject religious doctrine for permissiveness, give up economic corrections for value-free equal opportunity economic growth.
The most contentious issue I think is giving up programs of economic correction for value free equal opportunity economic growth. I am torn between total dismantling of corrective economic programs and the real need for Malays to adopt a more robust attitude. The attitude that calls for a voluntary renunciation of as-of-right privileges and perpetual handicaps. I am an advocate of achievement norms in society. In this particular instance, a Malay society characterised by achievement norms has, as its most vital principal, that one is evaluated in terms of what he has accomplished and can achieve. That is why I believe, that one cannot legislate the want to achieve. It must it generated internally and voluntarily. Unfortunately, this is not the issue I wish to write about.
As to Huzir Sulaiman’s essay, that, to my mind is the intent of his writing. His pious wish is that, actually, the voice that
To hold such weltanshauung is very expensive. One can certainly afford to uphold such views if one has a few million Ringgits in the bank. If I have such amount, Huzir can ask me to parrot what all these people say and I will with exquisite politeness, agree for a full blown interview.
The central thesis of Huzir’s essay, is that the key to changing the mindset of the Malays, rest then, on the slender shoulders of a privileged class- in Huzir’s terminology the new middle class. No attachment to kampong life, second or 3rd generation progeny of successful parents or grandparents, urbane, cosmopolitan. In other words, a totally new subset of Malays, unschooled in the debilitating values of the ordinary Malays. The members of the class of people which I referred to as the BMW Bourgeoisie, the Café Latte crowd, the smoked- salmon sentinels, caviar-on-cracker crowd and so forth.
In other words, Huzir wants to appeal to an assumed bourgeois way of being as the politically correct ethical framework. A framework within which Malays in the kampong and cities must subscribe to. But what is the source of this framework and its constitution? What Huzir wants to accomplish is to appeal to this ethical framework and at the same time, exposed the nuttiness of the majority of the population. The implications of what Huzir wrote and countenanced further by The Star wasn’t hard to decipher; It was just sort of understood that sane, bourgeois people like Huzir, Fahmi, Zahim, Saidah Rastam and Dain Iskandar Said didn't do crazy things like what those kampong Joes and the counterculture types were doing.
The political significance of Huzir’s writing then is the need to nurture such an exclusive Malay middle class. That, society will be much better off, expending its resources and also conferment of wide ranging powers on this kind of people. That then, is undeniably, the beginning of a real master-servant relationship.