How do you measure guilt, whether it is racial or personal? Psychologists say guilt stems from a deep feeling on the part of an individual that they committed a wrong through neglect, dislike, or injury to another. It manifests itself as anxiety, remorse, anguish, and depression. Have we consciously and deliberately injured others? Do we condition our children to hate others who are different from us? I don't think anyone in his right mind can accuse UMNO of doing that.
Non Malay Malaysians aspire to have equality in every sense of the term. That state of mind- aspire to have, does not contain elements of neglect, disliked, injured or having a wrong committed on them. They are not innocent victims that someone splattered on the side of the road in an accident, or a child or relative that someone harmed and now feels an acute need for atonement.
Malays haven't wronged the Malaysian Chinese. We do not dislike the Chinese or Indians. I don't think there is a primal and deep seated animosity towards any other race in a Malay. If at all, they acquire the tendency to despise others, it must have been achieved through conditioning. Conditioning is a direct and purposeful process. The indoctrination by Hitler's Germany of German children to hate Jews qualifies as conditioning. That's a conscious shaping of the mind. Apartheid in South Africa was a direct and conscious state wide policy designed to dehumanise South African Blacks.
Do we have that in our school curriculum? Do we see the contribution of Chinese to the Malaysian economy being erased from our history books? Have we engaged in choosing a selective departure point of history such as saying for example, the history of Malaya began on a very arbitrary date in order to leave out some unpleasant aspects? For example, to emphasise the Muslim-ness of Malaysia, we could have easily obliterated the fact that Malays were Hindus or non Muslim before the advent of Islam. We didn't re-write our history books to avoid our discomfiture.
Elsewhere for example, we read that the history of Singapore started in 1819 implying that before 1819, the existence of Malays there or that Singapore was in fact part of the Malay kingdom was deliberately deleted. Now, that is conditioning whereby there is a conscious and deliberate process of shaping the minds of people for a specific purpose- in this case, the complete erasure of acknowledging the existence of a history of Singapore before Raffles.
Can we apply the same rigorous standards on UMNO in particular and by extension on the Malays? For example in the custodial death of Kugan, was there any justification to claim that his death was at the hands of Malay policemen? Isn't placing the word `Malay' in front of the noun policemen suggests attempts to make it consciously a race issue? Similarly the death of Teoh Beng Hock is being made out as the outcome of a sinister ethnic cleansing policy carried out by UMNO. Hence, in Beng Hock's case, his death is caused by Malay racist officers.
Here's the source of contention. I don't think UMNO consciously conditions the mind of Malays to despise the non Malays. The hawkish and bellicose pronouncements do indeed heighten Malay insecurity and fears. They tend to produce self preservation measures and policies yes. But primal hatred? Not so.
So we reject the flippant and puerile explanation that UMNO is racist by nature because it has been responsible for the creation of many measures and policies designed for self preservation. Self preservation is not an option, it's a right. How can anyone feel guilty if they take measures for self preservation? Even worse, how can any other group deprive another of its right to take measures for self preservation and if they do, they are made to feel guilty for doing so?
Study the formation of UMNO. It was formed in 1946 as a response to a severe threat to the self preservation of being Malay. Understand the meaning of being Malay. Being Malay means to maintain its eminence in the land of their birth, being Malay means being able to nurture all things close to the Malay- his language, his culture his religion. Being Malay entails also the preservation of his system of government. The Malay must have his sultans. Never mind if his obsession for his sultan defies rationality.
What was the one calamitous threat and at once a deliberate policy that can deprive the Malay from being a Malay? It was the introduction of the Malayan Union. This was essentially a political concept that will result in the destruction of being Malay. This challenge was met with the response which saw the birth of UMNO. Hence UMNO wasn't formed to victimise and wrong the non Malays. It was formed directly as a response to the threat that endangers Malay self preservation.
How does a typical Malay relate to his other fellow Malaysians who are not Malays? Ordinary Malays are easily overwhelmed by the wealthy towkays and readily attribute the Chinese as superior economic actors. Malays are held captive to the idea that Chinese are naturally superior in business. Chinese are accepted as being precocious and inherently sharper than Malays. Malays actually feel inferior to the Chinese in many ways- and this defeatism is shown in many aspects of everyday life. They are seen in the ways the ordinary Malays grovel to accommodate Chinese domineering and sometimes bullying behaviour.
Malay government workers go out of their way to make land applications of Chinese easy. They send forms and plans to Chinese at hotels. Some land office workers are even on retainer fees to provide valuable inside track of land matters. Malay officers in Forest Departments prefer dealing with Chinese loggers because they know they can get money. Never mind if they are treated as tambhys or coolies, shouted at or ill-treated in anyway.
What do the non Malay Malaysians want? Many years ago, the late Lee Yan Lian lamented that he feels like a 3rd class citizen. Here was Malaysian Chinese many times a millionaire making public his discomfiture for feeling 3rd class and that prompted the PM then, Hussein Onn to say, if a millionaire like Yan Lian feels like a 3rd class citizen, a Malay would rather choose to be one.Who controls the wealth of this country? If I say, the Chinese do, it may not be politically correct because there's a racist sour after taste in saying that. But it's mathematically correct. The Malays have only 19% of the corporate wealth. If that's not satisfactory, one can easily call into account the breakdown of wealth in terms of land ownership, size of land owned, number of plantations owned and their comparative acreages. Ownership of business premises, plants, and so forth. Very politically discomforting but mathematically correct. So the Malay who questions these inequities is a racist? And he is supposed to feel guilty for feeling that way and saying it out loud?