“Salam sejahtera, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, saya hendak bertanya tentang perkara hak istimewa dalam perlembagaan Malaysia. Negara-negara di Europe tidak wujudnya perkara ini, dan negara mereka dapat maju. Persoalan saya ialah adakah perkara ini akan dipinda pada masa depan untuk tujuan memajukan negara Malaysia?”
I had the intention to ask the question, but she was a step ahead of me. I was stunned, I did not know how to react. She, a true Malaysian, spoke in front of the congregation of the divided Malay, Chinese and Indian. My initial response was awestruck when she finished her question- should Malaysia abolish the special rights (hak istimewa) for ‘bumiputera’ to make the country more united to be able to advance as a country?
The audacity that she had shown at that moment was remarkable, she is one of the ‘bumiputera’ benefited from the hak istimewa, yet she asked this kind of question, a very controversial one, in public to someone who stand by the government.
Before dwelling deeper into this, ‘bumiputera’ (bumi) means a Muslim in Malaysia, but the actual context means the ‘original’ people who are borned in Malaysia even before Malaysia is formed. Hak istimewa means special rights, only applies to the bumi which is stated in the perlembagaan Malaysia (Malaysia’s highest degree of law).
Come to think of hak istimewa, the clause is absurd, it gives an unfair situation to the non-bumi. For instance, take education as a stand point, the bumi are getting sure ‘reserved’ spots (more than 60 percent of seats) in the local universities, and some government education institutions only cater for bumi only (UiTM, MRSM, MARA), and the non-bumi have to work their heads off in order to get a placing in some local education institutions. And some investments with a whooping 19 percent interest per annum are only for bumi created by the government.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar could not say anything sensitive or against the hak istimewa on his talk in public, or else his pension would be pulled back by the government, because this is how Malaysia roll. If some random guy receiving benefits from the government talk bad about the bumi or the government, the guy would be in dire straits, the pit of abysmal nadir at the worst. His conservative answer was expected. She did not complain as she knew his standing, but she was not satisfied with his answer.
“I felt Malaysians are divided because of this hak istimewa.” she told me in a tone filled with veracity, tinging with a hint of commiseration, “If Malaysia really wanted to advance as a country, we have to do it as a country. Not races, but as Malaysians.”
“I was at a student exchange in Denmark, the guardians who took care of me during my time there were immigrants, but they still called themselves Danish, how? because they do not have the hak istimewa.” she was elaborate, “when I told them about this thing, they were shocked about how the country is operating, because even they moved into Denmark from another country, they call themselves Danish, the Danish also called them Danish, as long as you contribute to Denmark, you are considered a Danish. When can Malaysia do this?”
“I just do not like the way how Malaysia is as of now, Malays are Malays, Chinese are Chinese, Indians are Indians, why are we not calling ourselves as a Malaysian?” I nodded my head in assent because we were on the same page, we strive to become a Malaysian Malaysian. “Personally, I think the vernacular schools in Malaysia should be scraped, replaced with a Wawasan school, and we should learn Chinese, Malay, English, and Tamil at the same time, so that we can destroy the language barrier in Malaysia which is also one of the attributes making us divided.”
“Yeah it is sad to see that some Malaysians fail to communicate using the national language, Malay, and for me, sometimes, I felt the barrier when I am playing football with the Indians, they kept using Tamil in their conversation which made me feel uncomfortable, I should have picked up Tamil in my early years.” I affirmed her point. “Let’s get back to the hak istimewa point.”
“I totally disagree with the hak istimewa, I mean, I saw some of my friends, they studied ten times harder than me, yet they got rejected to some universities just because they are not bumi. Personally, I think everybody should work hard to get what they want, and everyone has the equal right to get anything they wanted. Plus, I think the hak istimewa has made a huge chunk of bumi lazy, taking everything for granted, because they knew they could do nothing and yet live a reasonably good life financially, and get good education without even working for it.”
“The majority of the bumi is afraid of change, they are scared if their hak istimewa is taken away from them, they are scared to work hard for what they want, they are too contended with the easy taken for granted life which they have now. If you want to move forward, you need to change. They are just lazy, pure lazy idiots. They should have used their brains if they have to think about the future of Malaysia, not just focusing on themselves.”
Having this conversation and encounter with this true Malaysian opened my eyes to the gossamer thread of hope to a brighter, greater Malaysia. “If they are more of you, Malaysia would be a great country.” I added. I am glad that I got to spoke to her, it is more of an honour rather than being glad.
She is very brave to speak of this matter, all credits to her, of course the words here are mixed with my thoughts that are similar to hers.
Leave in the comments below about your thoughts about the ‘hak istimewa’, be honest. Share this post with your fellow friends to let them know more about the absurd unfairness in Malaysia. Thank you for your time on reading this post. And I hope that this post would gain more attention from every Malaysian than expected (if you have a brain and conscience to consider about the future of this beautiful, glorious land of Malaysia)
P.S. SEPT 2017
A hope de novo for Malaysia,
A Malaysian Malaysian.
Craving for more? Down below:
Snippets of Matriculation (Matrikulasi) #Finale
Sebuah Surat Kepada Rakyat Malaysia (A Letter to Malaysians)
Spirit of Excellence
Raped, Married, It’s OK.