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Sakmongkol ak 47

Friday 11 February 2011

Debating Mr. Mallot

Here is a response from a writer who calls himself UMAR MUKHTAR. This is an article in response to the one written by a former US ambassador to Malaysia, John Mallot. I myself am writing a commentary to John Mallot's which I hope to post soon. In the meantime, please read this riposte from one Umar Mukhtar.



John Mallot has waded into the debate on Malaysian race relations with half an analysis when obviously a fuller one would have been of greater service to the discourse. Granted, his piece was intended more than anything else to be a critique of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's handling of the current situation in the country. However, in doing so, he has highlighted only the non-Malay responses to what is described as Malay racism. This is very misleading and the reason for my saying that he had written only half an analysis of the situation.

A more robust and honest assessment of race relations in Malaysia would take into account the fact that what appears to be Malay racism is in itself a response to non-Malay racism against Malays. Yes, two wrongs do not make a right. But as the Malay saying goes, "It takes both hands to clap". That is to say, Mallot's article runs the risk of completely absolving non-Malays from any responsibility in the racial predicament that the country is in. That is nothing less than avoiding reality and counter-productive to any effort to improve race relations in Malaysia. Malays have their grievances too against the Chinese. The fact that they seldom get aired does not make those grievances any less legitimate or valid.

Education for the very young is one obvious area where racist attitudes can be nipped in the bud. The importance for racial integration to begin at a young age is recognised, so much so that in the 1960s and 70s, the U.S. supreme court sanctioned the forced busing of students in order to break down the racial segregation between white and African-American schools. That was in America. In Malaysia, a different approach towards early education was adopted. In concession to the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, vernacular education was retained as part of the national school system. The liberalism was well-intentioned and in line with the spirit of Malaysia's constitution whereby minority communities are given the right to use and develop their own languages.

In practice, and perhaps this was unforeseen by Malaysia's founding fathers, the national-vernacular dichotomy in the school system has resulted in precisely the kind of early-age racial segregation that the busing laws, upheld by the U.S. supreme court justices, sought to eradicate in America. While desegregation of schools may or may not result in greater racial integration, segregation virtually guarantees that there will be no racial integration.

The racial polarization that we see so shamelessly capitalized on by politicians in Malaysia today is partly, if not wholly, attributable to that segregation in the school system. When you see not a few non-Malays unashamedly, even proudly, declaring that they cannot properly speak Malay, the national language, you can bet your life that these are the ones who graduated from the vernacular schools. This is forty-four years after Malay was declared the national language.


The Chinese community jealously guards the existence of the vernacular schools, implicitly reinforcing the message of their racial and cultural separateness and exclusivity but yet insist that they should not be looked at as the 'other' by Malays. For many Malays, including this writer, that smacks of having your cake and eating it too.

Often the excuse given by the Chinese for insisting that their children go to vernacular schools and for more such schools to be built is the poor quality of national schools. Surely the solution is not to build more racially-segregated schools but to join hands with Malays and Indians in insisting and ensuring that the quality of national schools be improved for the benefit of children of all ethnicities. Perhaps that is considered such an outlandishly 'out-of-the-racial box' thinking that I have never heard any Chinese make that call.


Any sincere and honest effort to improve race relations has to take cognizance of the fact that racism exists in and racial discrimination is practised, to one extend or another, by all the races in Malaysia.

However, my own honest observation is that the Chinese never want to admit or acknowledge their own racism against Malays or other races.

Official and overt discriminatory policies can easily be criticized as institutionalized racism but covert racial discriminations by their very nature are harder to pinpoint. That does not mean they don't exist or any less invidious than the former.

When a "Mandarin speakers only" requirement is stated in job advertisements, even for jobs which do not conceivably require much language skills, that surely is equivalent to saying "Chinese only". But you will be hard put to find any Chinese who would admit that the practice is racially discriminatory.

When Malaysia's most famous blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, related some years ago in his blog how Chinese businesses ganged up to ensure the failure of his motorcycle dealership, none of his Chinese readers cared to acknowledge that he was the victim of racism. His was probably just the tip of the iceberg of similar cases.

And it's always with a mixture of amusement and sadness when I read the many comments in the internet from non-Malays complaining about the racial policies of the Malaysian government which scarcely conceal their own racism towards Malays in general. If Mr Mallot doubts the truth of what I am saying, he should read the comments that followed the publication of his recent article in Malaysian news portals.


To many Malays, given the refusal of non-Malays to even acknowledge their own racism, the prospect of a rollback in whatever few affirmative action policies left on the plate appears to be concessions which are unlikely to be matched in a similar spirit by the Chinese in the spheres that they predominate, namely the commercial and economic.


If Najib can be accused of pandering to militant Malay groups, Chinese political leaders in the government and opposition too can be accused of pandering to their racial constituency.


In my lifetime, I have yet to hear of any Chinese leader asking that the Chinese to join in and contribute towards the betterment of national schools. I have yet to hear of one calling for Chinese businesses to assist or at least not to gang up against their fellow non-Chinese businesses or to not practice discrimination in their employment policies.

Mallot failed to take into account one side of the equation in his brief exposition of the race relations situation in Malaysia. Hopefully, I have managed to redress that and allow a better understanding of why things are the way they are in Malaysia.

It would have been more gracious of Mallot if he had used his relationship with Malaysians during his tenure as a diplomat to impart his country's experience and firm action with regard to vigilance against the emergence of the evil that is racism, than to make things worse by dogmatically adopting the attitude that sympathizing with the minority makes one righteous.



February 10, 2011


Zul 11 February 2011 at 20:46  

I m no racist, Umar Moktar say it accurately. I could not recall any Malay that is free from the Chinese discriminatory practice.

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 00:00  

well put mr umar moktar......

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 00:00  

Let us go live to Tahrir Sq for a successful Farewell Friday via AlJazeera--history in the making. I hope other regimes take note of Rakyats power!

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 00:50  

I recall during some years back when the sekolah kebangsaan were the pick of parents as they represent excellence in education. i studied in one of the CBS schools during my primary and secondary years and can vouch for it(my headmaster was one Brother James from Ireland – strict man). I can only see a handful of Malay students(don’t know why) and i know some of them although they seemed to be more “guarded” all the time? Theres also the special session where Malay boys are called out. Not sure what this was all about until very much later. The politicisation of the schooling system is what kills it. The vernacular school would have died a natural death if the gomen would have left the national school system alone or leave the academics to improve it. No need for anyone to foam in the mouth. As it is the Cina kena jadi boogeyman lagilah. Left right centre kena hantam. My opinion - Umar is spinning on this vernacular school issue.

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 00:59  

Pure rubbish.

The kind of racism said by Umar is so very individualised level rather than govt level (not that what he said is true either).

An often rubbish assertion that unity is not there because of separate schools. People go to schools that is the best suited for their children.

Chinese choose Chinese schools for the benefits that bring to their children mainly because they teach Mandarin together with English and Malay. Further their education standards are far higher than any national school dare to compete.

With the rise of PRC (China) this added advantage will be a boon to their future. The Malays refuse to join and learn Mandarin is their own choice. Just dont complain when they cannot compete.

I tell you, the courseware conducted by them are much much higher in standards especially the Chinese based syllabus.

Can Umar dare to say, racism will vanish or rather enhanced if all go to one school when the minorities will have to bear the one sided rants and nonsense even in schools?

If Umar dare to take his time to study, who are the ones day in and day out rant out racist statements JUST TO MAKE THEIR RACE ANGRY to continue to maintain power?

They did not realise that instead of gaining they will lose even more because not all Malays are easily fooled in this age of Internet.

Just look at the daily attacks on Lim Guan Eng... latest he was doctored to wear Muslim headgear ! Who are the racists.

It is definitely not from the product of Vernacular schools. These guys are from National schools brain washed with BTNs, Ibrahim Alis and TDMs kinds of rants.

Yes, I do agree Malaysia will not change nor will reverse the rot. We just have to do what we have been doing and it will be the Malays who would be the main losers as less and less money is available to support the warped system called NEP. The other races are all over the globe making good income for their families while locals have to be satified with RM1,500 per month(graduate) on devalued ringgit.

500,000 of high calibres have gone within just two years. ... gosh

Go ahead ostrich Umar, hide your head in the sand and enjoy your fruits while it lasts.

Meanwhile guys like you do not get our votes. We are not fools anymore.

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 03:35  

for me is very simple, if any other country in this world do not have any so call races school, why malaysia is still having this kind of school..even america have so many races in their country but neither of school in the US have this kind of school... we are the only one and it is a problem and not a solution to unites malaysian....
if there are some people mentioning the standard are the problem in the normal national is very simple to solved..just upgrade the system and the standard of the syllabus. it solved the quality problem...
If we are looking at the rest of the world not even any of the country have more than only one type of school... but in malaysia we have so many and it is definately will not unite the people...
I am still remember when i was working lat time in one of the GLC MNC and the foreigner is sympathy to the non bumi's because of the instability of races in the company which running by the government agency...guess what, he chase away so many bumiputra and replace it with non bumi's and still the business are still the same and even get worse..
further more if a malay working with a chinese company, i bet, you can rest assured that the same position level the chinese are geting even a higher pay while the bumi;s are not having the same amount of salary...
perception is..malay is not hardworking, which is all inherits from the grandparents...
I believed that malaysian should stop thinking negative way of uneven distribution of wealth of the country but purely think of getting everyone of us having a good and quality life...
I am also not blaming the opposition for issue that had been debating for all these years as BN has been playing with all these hot boil issue all these years....stop being prejudice about races and language and start respecting each other if we do not want something like egypt.

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 09:29  

Dato' how not to be racist when you are the victim of racism.
The Chinese have the resources and the Malays are easily being bought by them while the Indians are no better than the Malays and the Chinese. At the moment it is the best strategy to retain power and that is exactly what Jibby and his gang is doing. You know it is no good for the country!
Incompetent leaderships and misinform population derail any good intention for the nation progress.
The institution that is suppose to protect the people and the nation is equally to be blamed and may be it is not wrong to say the we started with the wrong footing and we may ended up as a failed nation.
Neither can we trust Najib and his gang nor Anwar and his PAKATAN dream. The rakyat has to decide. Remain status quo or move to a new era and lets call on the people to be brave to make changes if Jibby has no guts!
What Mr. Mallot wrote is not important and he can go to hell for all I care but CHANGES is a must now!

Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 11:04  

Anonymous@12 February 2011 03:35,

It’s actually very simple.

Let talk about the demographic composition of the M’sia before u jump into one of the BTN’s propagated lies (or should I said as manipulated by THAT mamak). Anywhere in the world, where the minorities constituting as substantially in population as in the case of M’sia, their Mother Tongues would be recognized as one of the official languages of the country. Think Switzerland, S Africa, Belgium & of course the red dot – S’pore.

Whereas, in bolihland, the Others have gracefully allowed B Melayu to be elected as the sole official language, PROVIDE their access to their Mother Tongues r NOT been compromised in ANY WAYS.

Thus the relevant clauses in the Others’ rights as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

So Who has been compassionate & agreeable for the sake of national independence?

Chines/Tamil vernacular schools (primary &/or secondary) r NOT races school. They cater for ALL races. Mara constituted educational mills r – as they only admit one class. See the differences? & someone has the cheek to counter-argue that's NOT relevant to the topic of discussion? Tin kosong & yet acting as if like a champion!

‘even america have so many races in their country but neither of school in the US have this kind of school.... we are the only one and it is a problem and not a solution to unites malaysian.... ’

No. U r death wrong about M'sia been the only country.


Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 11:05  

cont 2of5

1st - that’s bcoz in some counties/states in US there is only very small number of minorities reside in that areas. Go to some Southern States like Texas & New Mexico, yr hp6 hypothesis will be crumbling like lego blocks. Not only there r yr so called races schools, they r 100% funded by the states! The last that I checked (mid 2010), they r as much American as any other American in other part of US of A.

In fact, in those location where the minority's number is small, the states actually ENCOURAGING the minority to study their mother tongues. Most of the govt forms have multiple languages, too.

So still live in the tempurung built by BTN?

‘if there are some people mentioning the standard are the problem in the normal national is very simple to solved..just upgrade the system and the standard of the syllabus. it solved the quality problem...’

This is my pet loath, spilled out from the mouth of DN’s choirboys & many of u blur-sotong. Its even been accepted whole-heartedly by many so-called ‘liberal’ Malay M’sians.

Haven’t u guys heard of Dong Jiao Zong? Su Qui? 99% of the Malay M’sian would considered that’s a racist setup & requests. ARE they?

Have u guys read & understand what’s been proposed in the REAL document, rather than believing what yr umno elites (especially THAT mamak) led u to believe?


Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 11:05  

cont 3of5

Iff u do, then u’ll know what u have mentioned r exactly what Su Qui has propose & more for our educational system.

BTW do u know how long ago was Su Qui been presented to that mamak? Part of the Su Qui r been implemented in the vernacular Chinese schools, & look at the credit standing of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). Let me tell u a secret, many top universities of the world have direct entry for students with creditable UEC results even though M'sian govt don't recognise UEC certs!

Now look at the current stages of the govt supported education – flip-flop with NO aim, paper-mills of questionable standard. Result? Unemployable graduates to the thousand, & the funny thing is more BASIC trainings will be needed after their graduation! What r they teaching during their tertiary yrs? Honeymooning?

Yr story about that one of the GLC MNC and the foreigner is sympathy to the non bumi's because of the instability of races in the company which running by the government agency...guess what, he chase away so many bumiputra and replace it with non bumi's and still the business are still the same and even get worse.. is so typical about yr kind of thinking.

Can u think for a minute about the other possibility - bcoz he has built a reputation as a Malay M’sian repellent that every opportunities he created were been blocked by the govt agencies?

Talent recognizance is NEVER appreciated if the colour of the talent is NOT considered. Malay M’sian MUST be the head/lead even when that selected Malay M’sian is an nincompoop!


Anonymous,  12 February 2011 at 11:08  

cont 4of5

‘further more if a malay working with a chinese company, i bet, you can rest assured that the same position level the chinese are geting even a higher pay while the bumi;s are not having the same amount of salary...
perception is..malay is not hardworking, which is all inherits from the grandparents...’

So those Malay M’sians who work & draw big salary in Others M’sians’ companies r front-men, good-for-govt-contracts-only & unmo cronies? Thank you for doing the dis-services to those Malay M'sians who r NOT.

Perception is indeed EVERYTHING. & who creates those perception about Malay M’sian in the 1st place & what r u going to do about that? Just like one blogger who succinctly suggest to 'simpang' the tongkat & used it for the 'rainy' days later?

‘stop being prejudice about races and language and start respecting each other if we do not want something like egypt.’

The above is the ONLY sensible thing u talked about in this whole comment. Perhaps, this is been plagiarised from others’ writing somewhere if I want to be rude.

Perhaps what happened in Egypt now is the best thing for the country, after all u guy always claimed to have the number & those ten of thousand who study in Egypt can bring back some enlighten insights about truth human values vis-à-vis a troglodytic religious beliefs.

CYC,  12 February 2011 at 14:50  

Only time will tell who made the right interpretation of racism. It only takes less than 20 years to witness the real failure to emerge and see how do we react to the consequences then. Blame ourselves for being stupid and emotionally blinded or cherish the fruits of success for being adamant of upholding the "dignity" of race. Cheers !

Zul 12 February 2011 at 15:58  

Is Chinese School have a higher standard of education? I nearly vomit hearing that. How can they be progressive if they cant even speak Malay and English properly? It just a mere reasoning for the school existence as well as their disciminatory practice. I doubt that the Chinese Enterprise could do well without their discriminatory practice. Leave it to open system where everything is equal the Chinese will shit in their pants. Since the Chinese is discriminatory, why blame the Malay for being discriminatory? I not listing the evidence of discriminatory practice of the chinese as it is widespread and ones need just to look at the house next door (if the house is occupied by a Chinese)

Anonymous,  13 February 2011 at 03:33  

some people will start jumping on the tempurung when they feel uneasy as katak have acknowledge that the truth is revealing....

Anonymous,  13 February 2011 at 10:14  

I agree. The chinese vernbacular schools is a waste and incomplete system.

The national school system encompaases a wider spectrum of education and skills, those who do not do well in gett As may commit to technical and vocational education whereas chinese vernacular schools practcie elitism where the top class get free tuition, free meals and pampered while the mediocres are ignored. That is why many chinese working at small businesses repair fridges and air cons do not have higher education because they could not adapt to BM and ENglish at secondary schooling.

The fact is, only 5% of students in vernacular schools are non chinese, soparotting that vernacuar school particularly the chinese schools is a sham. The Sabah/Sarawak chinese schools have higher bumi enrolment because chinese children are virtually exticnt and 75% of Sabah/Sarawakians are native this is a special case.

Change in demographics in the future will kill off vernacular schools and it is the evrnacular school generation who will lose out.

BYW, MRSM accept 10% non Malay quota nadthis is never filled...the attitude of chinese educationist of having them sharing a classroom is appalling to te chauvinist mind which is illustrate by chinese vernacular schools refusing to accept Malay teacherrs over ground of 'quality' which is totally abhorrent.

Anonymous,  14 February 2011 at 10:23  


it's actually very simple. vernacular schools can't produce good students that can speaks malay or english properly. therefore they will all be useless and in the future there is a good chance that national school students n mrsm products will take over the malaysia by storm. isn't that good news? and who needs protection and whatever bumi allocation when the national schools who produce most malay students are vastly superior to the vernacular schools who produces inferior racist chinamen?

according to umar mukhtar the chinese businesses are racist for hiring 'mandarin speaking' people. well, it's time to let them have a taste of their own medicine. non chinese businesses should start hiring only 'malay n english speaking' candidates. that will put those inferior vernacular students who can't speak malay or english in their place. in no time mrsm n national schools products will take over n spearhead malaysia to the glory she deserve!

keep it up zul!


Anonymous,  14 February 2011 at 14:54  

acapkali pemimpin, peniaga, ahli korporat dll melayu yang tak sedar diri pun. tertunduk-tunduk dengan pengundi, pembeli, pelanggan, pekerja dll cina sambil mengabai dan memandang rendah nilai undi, daya beli, keupayaan dan kepintaran mereka yang sebangsa.

Zainal,  14 February 2011 at 23:48  

1. Yes I agree the main cause of the race problem in this country is the vernacular schools. From da one our children has been segregated. So you have only malays play takraw and chinese play basketball.

2. Chinese school have better standard and better english speaking? that's a big BULL !! I teach in a private U where most of the stiudents are chinese-school educated. Their english is no better than the malays from the kampungs and no need to ask about their bahasa...I agree MRSM produce better graduates than these chinese schools..but no way the chinese want to join a system which is created by the malay..

3. My chinese friends, the truth hurts...racism is coming from both sides...there's no point to argue who started it first...its time to think about the future of our children living together..

Anonymous,  15 February 2011 at 14:54  


i agree with u. everyone is a racist here. the problem on one side it is in the society and on the other it is both in the society and it's institutionalized.

how do we solve that?


Anonymous,  15 February 2011 at 15:12  

I think it's high time the governemnt should have bslls and shut down all those vernaculara schools and let all send their children to the one school that can foster unity from the early age. Those who insist to learn their their mother tongue language can do so as a curriculum in the schools. Then in 10 years time we can see racial unity. Better late than never.

allanLee 16 February 2011 at 20:31  

Please take a good look at our neigbour-Indonesia, the corruption and racial issues are genuinely being tackled by instituting strict govt laws.

Just after 10 years or so, they are now already on track to enjoy good growth in economy(may be over taking us now) and do U ever hear any more politicians over there using racial as a tool in their politics? No, right- because its a crime to do that and will be severely punished and jailed by thier laws. Why cant we do that in Malaysia- ASK our BN govt why?

Just wonder again why the chinese schools are now encouraged to be flourishing in Indonesia? Are they not the factors that will cause racial problems as claimed by US here in Malaysia? Any one can enlighten me on this.

Anonymous,  16 February 2011 at 22:44  

chinese choose chinese school courtesy of our great Mahathir,the chinese schools are actually dying slowly till mahathir change the english schools system to all bahasa malaysia, the chinese have really to thank mahathir for saving their school!

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