Musa Hitam blames Putrajaya for Malay dilemma
BY LEE SHI-IAN AND MD IZWAN
Published: 31 August 2014
The Malays are suffering from inferiority complex because of Putrajaya's preaching that the community is backward and always in need of assistance, said former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam.
"Putrajaya has mentioned several times that it has a target of increasing the Bumiputera equity ownership in the national economic pie to 30% by 2020.
"But, the government does not take government-linked companies into account when they point out that the present Bumiputera equity ownership is 24%.
"We are deluding ourselves by continuously pointing a finger at the Chinese. There is no such thing as perfection," Musa told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) office in Hampshire Place, Kuala Lumpur.
Musa, who is the WIEF chairman, said the race issue had been played upon numerous times and has had a negative effect on Malaysia.
"Only bankrupt politicians continually use race and religion to win support.
"Do not get me wrong, I am Umno through and through, even if I am may not talk like a mainstream party member.
"We cannot adopt the attitude of 50 years ago. We have to keep progressing and updating ourselves."
Musa said the New Economic Policy introduced by former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was to improve the livelihood of Malays.
"The NEP was to lift the Malay community in Malaysia and to remove their inferiority complex."
He said that there were many Malays who had performed well and now made up the middle class of Malaysia, and that they could rationalise for themselves.
But, he regretted that there was a gap between the current generation and certain leaders in Putrajaya as they appeared to be on different wavelengths.
"Some leaders do not appear to be in sync with the very people whom they have trained."
He recalled an incident with a group of youths over a meal while travelling to Johor for a holiday:
"A group of 30 to 40 Malay youths stopped by the eatery where my wife and I were eating."
"Some of them recognised me and approached us. After exchanging pleasantries, one of the boys asked whether they could share something with me.
"I said go ahead, by all means. The youths told me in a rather apologetic manner that they were anti-government."
He said he told the youths the fact that they disagreed with Putrajaya was born out of the previous administrations, which reflected democracy.
"Many quarters take it for granted that Malay leadership is the most important factor. But, there are many other challenges to that due to the open society we live in.
"I am also saddened and disappointed by some of the comments and remarks made by the present leaders.
"They do not appear to have done their homework and research before saying something.
"More often than not, many of the present leaders talk first and then realise they have made an error later when it is too late to retract their statement."
Musa said the current leadership had shown that they were unable to deal with sensitive issues like religion.
"The Malays seem to be confused about religion. The non-Malays are appalled at what is happening among the leadership in Putrajaya. "
He said politicians want to be seen as belonging, "so nobody speaks about the subject, for fear that they will be viewed as being anti-Islam".
On Christians using "Allah", he said: "Whatever the arguments which have been raised, the simple fact of the matter is that it was decided that only Muslims in the peninsula have ownership of the word 'Allah'."
Musa was amazed and astounded that the issue had been blown all out of proportion.
"If you are confident about your religion, there is no need to worry about Malays getting confused if the word 'Allah' is used by non-Malays."
During his stint as education minister between 1978 and 1981, Musa said Christian representatives approached him.
"At that time, the government was encouraging the use of Bahasa Malaysia by all races, including Christians.
"There were no Malay-language Bibles at that time and the Christians discovered that Indonesia printed such books.
"They sought permission to import the Malay-language Bibles to Malaysia and I approved it with certain conditions.
"The conditions included importing the Bibles for their own use, to be kept in the church and no open selling or distribution of the Bibles outside of churches."
Musa stood by his decision, saying it was right and a correct compromise as the issue had been quietly settled and rationalised.
"If you want everyone to use the national language, then you should not put roadblocks and obstacles."
On Malaysia today, the 80-year-old said he felt quite depressed and down.
"Malaysia is facing the possibility of becoming a failed state as it does not know how to handle success and the intricacies of politics.
"Sure, there are positives… foreigners are impressed with Malaysia and its infrastructure. Perhaps they get the impression that Malaysians are happy and friendly.
"But there are so many wrongs which have become a right, so many extraordinary things which have become ordinary.
"We pride ourselves on being democratic and embracing the Westminster-style of politics.
"Malaysia must learn how to embrace democracy and be prepared to lose," Musa said, referring to the two-thirds majority which Barisan Nasional used to enjoy.
In the 2008 and 2013 general elections, BN watched as DAP, PKR and PAS began to make inroads into its traditional strongholds.
"Democracy also means understanding the role of criticism and being able to accept it."
Musa said the present leaders adopted the attitude of accepting a single compliment and overlooking the criticism which accompanied it.
"Digital democracy has arrived in this world. It is unpredictable, open, kind and can also be cruel."
On the hudud fracas, Musa was disappointed at how Putrajaya handled it.
"I am reasonably confident that across board, the Malay community is disagreeable to the concept of hudud.
"The image portrayed by hudud of body dismemberment is quite scary and horrifying.
"While PAS has attempted to rationalise the issue, nobody else dares to say openly that he is against it.
"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announces Malaysia is not ready for hudud, Umno Youth says who said it is against it?"
Musa cited a solution by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the issue:
" Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave a very simplistic yet logical summary of hudud."
"He said if a Malay was caught stealing, his hands would be cut off. But if a non-Malay was caught for the same offence, he would only spend a couple of years in jail.
"This is the way to resolve issues, to do research and rationalise, to give explanations. Nowadays, everyone simply jumps on the bandwagon.
"Nobody dares to disagree."
But, he also admired PAS for standing up to what they believed in.
"Unfortunately, nobody listens to PAS and their explanations." – August 31, 2014.