Malaysia, the pretender to the Malay throne?

An interesting piece about Malaysia’s attempt to be the champion of the Malay world, even though Malay is an ethnic grouping and not a race, except in Bolehland where its Constitution specifies what a Malay should be, including being a Muslim.

What if you are an Orang Melayu from Indonesia who’s a Christian?

HONG KONG: In a move that could backfire by drawing attention to discrimination against Chinese, Indian and other minorities in Malaysia, the country has claimed a role in the advancement of Malays in other lands.

The Malaysian deputy prime minister and heir apparent, Najib Razak, told an international Malay/Muslim audience recently that his government would work to help support them in countries from the Philippines and Singapore to Madagascar, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Najib’s remarks may draw the attention of China, India and other countries to what has hitherto been regarded by most outsiders as a domestic issue: Malaysia’s official economic and social preferences for Malays, and by extension Muslims, which disadvantage Malaysia’s non-Malay minorities, mostly Chinese and Indian. His statements are also sure to irritate Indonesia, Malaysia’s larger neighbor and fount of Malay culture.

The word “Malay” can mean a language that is native to east Sumatra, which became the lingua franca of trade in Southeast Asia and is now the official language of Indonesia and Malaysia. Or it can mean the relatively small, mostly Muslim, ethnic group of some 20 million straddling Malaysia, and parts of Indonesia and southern Thailand. Or it can mean the much wider Malay racial/linguistic group of more than 300 million people, about 60 percent Muslim, encompassing most of Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia – plus many Madagascans and minorities in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Read rest of story

via Philip Bowring: Malaysian pretensions – International Herald Tribune.

7 thoughts on “Malaysia, the pretender to the Malay throne?

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  1. Hahahaha …. Malaysia need many “viagras” if they want to realize their ambition to the Champion of the Malay World …

    What are their next claim ??????


  2. realitinya melayu lebih ramai…..saya faham anda takut!!!!!
    jangan mentertawakan orang melayu…..sedar siapa diri anda dahulu…..!!!!!!
    saya bekerja dengan majoriti orang cina….orang cina sangat mementingkan diri sendiri dan tidak mahu mengaku kelemahan dan keburukan diri sendiri kerana mereka takut malu!!!!!perasan diri mereka terlalu perfect!!!
    oleh itu nasihat saya…..cermin dahulu diri sendiri sebelum mentertawa dan menghina kaum lain khususnya melayu…..oopssss satu lagi sila baca sejarah malaysia dengan bersungguh-sungguh!!!barulah anda akan terdiam!!!!


  3. siapa itu cina? siapa itu india? kerakyatan cina ada, tetapi tidak ada bangsa cina, yang ada adalah etnik Han, Uigher dan lain-lain. Malah orang tibet tidak mengaku mereka cina, begitu juga kebanyakkan cina yang beragama islam, malah mereka melancarkan peperangan pemisahan dari negara cina. siapa itu india? tiada ada kaum india, india adalah kerakyataan wilayah negara yang dicipta selepas perginya penjajah inggeris, ada etnik tamil dan etnik yang lain, tetapi bukan india.


    1. @betul: Can’t agree you more that Malays, Chinese, Tamilians etc are but ethnic groups. And given gene mapping the distinctions are getting even thinner. So all the more reason why Malaysia should not go out to the world to swing its big stick on Malayness.


  4. It seems to me just the continuation of attempts from Malaysia (more specifically, the Peninsula) to be the centre of Malay civilisation. I want to know what reactions of Riau Malays (specifically, the Riau-Lingga Archipelago), who are also aiming to be the Malay centre themselves.

    About the definition of Malayness: from what I have read it is really fluid actually. In the past Aceh has acted as a Malay kingdom, but now in generally we don’t think them belongs to Malay ethnic group. Ditto Minangkabaus. The Malays of North Sumatera are actually of Batak descent, and in the past the were switching identities easily. Siak Malays were perhaps actually Minangkabaus, and many Kalimantan Malays were Dayaks. The problem arises when you try to make a sharp definition, like what they do in Malaysia.


  5. For me Malayness is not about people but more so a culture. True, the definition of ‘Malay’ is fluid and vague. Though, there are some who seemed to be/look like any typical Malay but would prefer to announce their ethnic /rootgroup, i.e. Banjarese, Javanese, Siamese, Malay Cambodian, Kedayan, Deli etc.. But these are the origins of the scattered various civilisation that have existed in the Malay archipelago. And Malay is actually a language. A lingua franca that connect all these diversed groups before and presence.

    The language of Malay later evolved into culture, norms and customs.. and some of the ethnic people have opted to be more ‘global’ in the context of the Malay world…and choose to be called Malay. But what is the real Malay culture? What is all about ‘being Malay’? When Islam was introduced here few hundred years ago by the Arab merchants, they just ‘clicked’ to each other, eventhough during the European conquerest (Portuguese, Dutch, Britain, and as for the first, it was a matter of ‘force’), Malay archipelago sustained to be Islamic states.

    On the surface Malay language is easy to learn. But it is the depth of mastering/practising the derivative of Malay language, held the core of ‘Being Malay’. I’m talking about…Bidalan, Pepatah, Gurindam, Peribahasa, Perumpamaan…the gists are on being harmony, positive thinking, well mannered, cultured, hardworking, pure, ‘santun’ etc. So when the core of Islam reflect the similarity between the religion and the culture, being Malay is further enhanced.

    But as it is now due to change in our lifestyle, western (only -ve) culture (via media propaganda) and topped with economic pressure…Malay as a culture slowly dissapeared…

    Few months ago, the only thing Malay about myself is the word ‘MALAY’ in my IC/MyKad. Thus, it prompted me to learn more about Malay culture that I have always taken it for granted…and what a wonderful things I have found of the old rich Malay heritage… mind you my assistance is a neighbour of mine that not just embraced Islam by marriage but more so ‘being Malay’…She is a Chinese by birth but I regards her a Malay anyway..My adopted aunt was a Chinese baby and she is a Malay. I am 1/4 (Japanese/Patani) and I am a Malay.

    My cousins don’t speak Malay, don’t like Malay food, neither they are practising Islam, wear tight hot pants most of time, should I regard them as Malay? That’s my dilemma not theirs.

    The culture of ‘Rempit’, ‘Bohsia’, and ‘Penkid’ are the culture of people comes from the lower level of socio economic background and those who lack of the Islamic principles. Yes, there are the new Malay…this is a culture of doom. For the Malay who denounced Islam, I just pray for them to come back…I was a Muslim a Malay but so so…not after I discovered both in the net, that i just fell totally in love again with both of them! And I am both!!!

    Peacebuy @


  6. Apa ini. Semua bangsa hentam satu sama lain.Melayuke, Cinake, Indiake, Ibanke, Penanke,Kadazanke, semuanya sama. Semua orang makan dan minum dan berak dan kencing. Kan sama. Takada beza. Kalau macam ni, tak ada aman dalam dunia. Tak habis habis.


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