Am I a Malaysian first or Chinese first ??

Posted on April 12, 2010

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On 31 Mar, DAP’s veteran Lim Kit Siang throw 2 challenge questions to our DPM Muhyiddin :

1. Is he (Muhyiddin) prepared to declare that the basis of ‘1Malaysia’ is “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia” (People’s supremacy) and not “ketuanan Melayu” (Malay supremacy)

2. Is he (Muhyiddin) prepared to endorse the objective of 1Malaysia as defined by the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap to create a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion or region second ?”

Muhyiddin reply : I am Malay first, but being Malay doesn’t mean I am not Malaysian,
He doesn’t understand (what) the meaning of the concept of 1Malaysia is all about. How can I say I’m Malaysian first and Malay second? All the Malays will shun me… and it’s not proper




My opinion is this:

The witty DAP supremo had purposely put our DPM in a Catch-22 situation. There is no absolute right or wrong answer for a politician to answer. Answering being Malay first or Malaysian first will not help Muhyiddin as he had to face firstly UMNO and secondly the rest of the Malaysian public. If I were him, I will choose not to respond but instead divert the question away by condemning LKS being trying to stir up racial based political issues.

I lookout at Muhyiddin’s response especially his last comment ” All the Malays will shun me… and it’s not proper ” – what message is he trying to convey ? It was obvious – racial acceptance will precede all others… He is basically telling us being a Malay is more important than be a Malaysian. He should not have utter this last statement.

So I also ask myself – am I a Chinese first or a Malaysian first ? Before LKS ask our DPM this, such a question had never occurred to me.

Both my parents and grandparents were born in China. My grandparents came over to Malaysia to work on the tin mines in Ipoh. My father similarly follow their footsteps and work as a laborer in the tin mine until he was stricken with cancer and passed away in his 60’s. My mother work as a odd job worker in the rubber estate. So I grew up in poverty and every day was a struggle to survive. As an infant, I grew up on condensed milk and for the next 18 years I was still just having 2 meals a day . As a young boy, during the school holidays I work in the tin mine too as a laborer. The point I want to make is simply, as a family we were struggling to survive – race issues and politics was never a concern or issue to us. What was more important was “will there be food on the table tomorrow” ?

I am now in my mid fifties and I have accepted that I am born a Malaysian and god willing, die a Malaysian in Malaysia. I have been working in Malaysia for the last 30+ years and every year without fail I paid all my taxes . There is also no way I can pay less tax as I am a full-time employee and all income is declared. So I contributed rightly and fairly to the government. So I can proudly say I am a Malaysian first , and being Chinese is just a race.

Dear Muhyiddin – it is NOT a shame to declare yourself as a Malaysian first and not justify it as not just because you worry the Malay will shun you.