SEMENANJUNG TANAH MELAYU
By Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
1. Was I rewriting history when I said that Peninsular Malaysia is historically Semenanjung Tanah Melayu? If Mr Gan Ping Sieu
(MCA Vice President) cares to read the history of this peninsular, he would know that officially the Malayan Union was replaced by Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. The English name "Federation of Malaya" was not official. I ought to know because I lived through this period.
2. But when the federation was enlarged to include Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, the Malays, led by the Tunku agreed to the name "Malaysia" for the enlarged federation. Historically therefore the Malays agreed to the renaming of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. But historically the peninsular was Tanah Melayu, made up of Malay States ruled by their rulers, the Malay Sultans. All agreements with the British were made by the Malay Sultans of the Malay States of the Peninsular. Malaya or Malaysia never entered into agreements with the British simply because they did not exist as sovereign states.
3. These are the facts of history. I was speaking about the origins of Malaysia. Can we say the origin of Malaysia was Malaysia. Historically there was no Malaysia.
4. I talked about this in response to certain people who claim that the Malays are as much immigrants as the Chinese and Indians.
5. Some Malays are obviously descended from people who came to the Malay Peninsular from the Indonesian islands, India and the Arabian Peninsular.
6. Having come here they were assimilated after they identified themselves completely with the Malays by adopting the Malay language, their customs and traditions and by being Muslims.
7. This is a common phenomenon. In America, Australia, Latin America, the later immigrants accepted the languages of their adopted country as their mother tongue as well as the culture.
8. After doing this they no longer think of themselves as being of their original country. They are Americans, Australians and Argentinians period. We don't hear them claiming to be German Americans, Portuguese Australians or Italian Argentinians, even though they or their ancestors came from these countries.
9. Malays are Malays and it is mischievous to suggest that when asked about their race they would say they are Bugis or Javanese. It is only if they are asked where their ancestors came from that they would say Celebes or Java. Otherwise they are just Malays.
10. If you ask me I would reply that I am a Malay. I would not say I am a Malay or Malaysian of ethnic Indian origin. My mother tongue and home language is Malay, my culture and tradition is Malay and I am a Muslim. The constitution defines a Malay as a person who habitually speaks Malay, practices Malay custom and tradition and is a Muslim.
11. However I am told that IC cards in Singapore ignore Malays and state that the person is Bugis or Javanese. The intention is clear; to kill the Malay identity and create the impression that they are foreign immigrants.
12. Malays are caught in a dilemma. When challenged by the opposition on any racial issue, they are unable to respond because if they do then they would be accused of being racist even by members of the Barisan Nasional. When they do not reply then UMNO in particular would lose Malay support for not defending them. This will lead to UMNO being rejected by them. The Chinese have openly declared that they will not support Barisan Nasional. (read here)
13. Without Malay support and deprived of Chinese support UMNO would lose. Barisan Nasional would also lose.
14. Preventing Malays from defending themselves is not much different from supporting the opposition. When I rebut the anti-Malay racism of the opposition I am only trying to ensure that at least the Malays would support Barisan Nasional. I am no racist. Those who support racist statements by the opposition are the real racists.
15. For almost 52 years the Alliance and Barisan Nasional coalitions had worked well together. The prosperity that we enjoy during those years is the result of inter-racial cooperation through the Barisan Nasional.
16. In multiracial Malaysia no one can have everything that they consider they are entitled to - neither the Malays, nor the Chinese nor the Indians nor the different tribal groups in Sabah and Sarawak. The moment anyone demands that he be given everything that he thinks he is entitled to then there can be no inter-racial cooperation. Without inter-racial cooperation this country would go to the dogs.
17. We have read the fable of the thief who shouted "thief"! The racists are the same. They shout racist at others to distract from their own racism.