The intent of this essay is to understand race in modern Malaysia, and about understanding racial dealingss between Malaysians. In this essay we will try to understand how the position quo came to being, by analyzing the history of Malaysians. This is traveling to be done by foremost specifying modern Malaysia, secondly by specifying race in Malaysia, which will be done in two parts I ) race before, two ) during the colonized Malaya and three ) race today. Last, we will take a stance that race is really of import in modern-day Malaysia, from which a decision will be drawn about the degree of importance of the construct of race in understanding Contemporary Malaysia.
Modern Malaysia or modern-day Malaysia is a term used to specify Malaysia after independency in 1957. This is a Malaysia where there is affirmatory action for the Bumiputra ( Malays & A ; autochthonal people ) , it is a society where most of the political relations is dominated by people of the Malay background, and this is a society with a rich and diverse civilization. Economic activity is non tied to any race ; nevertheless, some portion of the society is still marginalised. The Indian community as a whole seems to be left behind the remainder of the Malayan society. This means that they do non acquire as many benefits as the other races and they have fewer politicians who are of their race. One of the taking factors in the Indian ‘s current standing in Malayan society is said to be their indifference to the call of Independence ( Manickam 2009:23 ) . Manickam attests that the ground why Indians are sidelined today is because of their indifference during the battle for independency. There is grounds of both inter-racial cooperation and competition in Malaysia. Together with this, is the historical conditions of a multi-racial society in Malaysia, the lineage of economic inequality, the uninterrupted inter-racial green-eyed monster and intuition, the caused the May ’69 racial public violences ( Abdullah 1997:190 ) .
We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!
Malaysians are presently accepting a construct of 1Malaysia ; civilization of excellence, finding, credence, instruction, unity, meritocracy, humbleness and trueness ( Salleh 2009:1 ) . In modern Malaysia, there is a progressive integrity amongst the society, united by a common vision which is Wawasan 2020. Malaysia aspires to be a developed state by twelvemonth 2020 ; Modern Malaysia aspires to be a incorporate Malayan province made of one Malayan Race ( Bangsa Malaysia ) .It aspires to be a psychologically enlightened, protected and developed Malayan society. Malaya wants to further and develop an ethical, mature democratic, broad and tolerant society, by 2020. Malaysians want to be established as a scientific and progressive society, a wholly caring society, an economically just society, in which there is a merely and indifferent allotment of the prosperity of the state and a booming society with an economic system that is to the full competitory, dynamic, robust and resilient ( Shariffadeen 2009:7 ) .
Now, to understand modern-day Malayan society, we understand the three predominant races in Malaysia, which are ; the Bumiputra ( Malays and autochthonal cultural groups ) , the Chinese, and the Indians. So, how did this “ plural society ” come into being? The line should be traced back to the British colonial epoch when moving ridge after moving ridge of immigrants from China and India flooded the Malay Peninsula, the original geographical constituent of the present twenty-four hours Malaysia. Centuries before the “ onslaught ” of British colonialism and the inflow of the Chinese and the Indian immigrants, the Malays had laid their claim to the land by set uping a complete socio-political community with the initiation of the Malacca Sultanate in 1402 ( Abdullah 1997:192 ) . But even before the thirteenth century, the Malay Peninsula had been capable to territorial claims by assorted Malay lands and imperiums in the part like the Sumatra-based Srivijaya in the fifth and 6th century, the Patani-based Langkasuka in the 6th and 7th century and the Java-based Majapahit in the eleventh and 12th century. Well before the constitution of these civilized antediluvian lands, the Malays had a long history of tenancy in Malaysia. It is believed that their ascendants came to South East Asia in prehistoric times, likely migrating from Indo-China or Yunnan over 3,500 old ages ago ( ibid 1997:193 ) . Malayans can besides be traced back to Taiwan between 4000 and 3000 B.C all the manner to the Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia etc.They came from many states, but were separated by political boundaries ( Barnard 2004:57 ) .
Now, allow ‘s look at how the Indians came to Malaya. Harmonizing to Manickam, the Indian influence in Malaysia started around the 6th century B.C, when Indian adventurers arrived in Malaysia ( Manickam 2009:18 ) . After these adventurers came more and more migrators of Indian beginning came to Malaya. These migrators of Indian beginning were largely Sri lankan Tamils and Telugus. Manickam estimates the figure of Sri lankan Tamils during 1931 to be approximately 12, 7000 ( ibid 2009:19 ) . He goes on to advert that these Ceylonese were appointed as clerks, instructors and authorities retainers, while the remainder of the Indians worked the gum elastic plantation sector as agriculturists and developers. Because of the Sri lankan standing with the British, they had more benefits than the Indian plantation workers and they frequently excluded them from their community ( ibid 2009:19 ) . This premiss builds up a land for an statement that explains the disparities that exist within the Malayan Indian communities and between them and other races in Malaysia. The British found Indian workers to be ideal workers. Ryter described Indians as more hardworking and hard-working than the lazy Malay and more docile and well-founded than the never-say-die Chinese ( Ryter 2005: 9 ) . He besides referred to the Indians as a peace-loving and easy governed state. The ground for this was that Indians had already suffered under British imperialism, and hence they were prepared to confront any adversities for better state of affairss in front.
The British were really dying to hold more Indian laborers, that they developed a enlisting procedure by set uping the Tamil in-migration Fund in 1907 ( ibid 2005:9 ) . This fund was responsible for Indian migration and they were besides in charge of their wages. Often the Indians would be given merely plenty for basic necessities and for the menu of their trip back to India. Ryter besides mentions that these Indian workers spent most of their money on an alcoholic drink called toddy. They frequently did non hold adequate money for their trip back to India, and so they stayed in Malaysia. In 1931 it is said that the population of Indians and Chinese combined were 53.2 % of the population in Malaya ( ibid 2005: 11 ) . The fact that immigrant populations were more than the Malay population led to the British ‘s support of Malays keeping a particular position in the state. They set up bureaus such as the Malay Reservation Enactment which reserved land for Malays merely. Indians were continued to be seen as impermanent occupant of Malaya regardless of how long they had lived. This is one of the factors that kept Indians behind in Malayan society. All the Indians seem to hold gotten out of the Bargain was a Malayan citizenship.
We have looked at where each race came from originally, and we conclude that the Malays established colonies in the Peninsular and environing islands many centuries before the migration of the Indians and the Chinese. We besides conclude political difference within the Malays ethnicities and the Indian ethnicities. This brings to attending the thought that even within the same race Malaysians were divided ; the Malays had the provincials and the royals, while the Indians were divided in to Ceylonese Tamils and Telugus.
Now we will look at how race was viewed during colonial Malaya. Hirschman describes European attitudes towards the Malays as being paternalistic ( Hirschman 1986:42 ) , intending that the Europeans dealt with the Malays the manner a male parent would cover with his kids. The British besides viewed Malays as baronial provincials, whose life manner should be protected under colonial regulation ( Pennycook 1998:58 ) . Pennycook besides mentions that the position of Malays as being “ lazy ” started during the colonial regulation. The ground for this is that the Malays did non take part in the colonial economic system ( ibid 1998:58 ) . However the Malay nobility did profit from colonialism. These benefits that the grand Turks received are seen as a manner of keeping the fiction of Malay sovereignty ( Hirschman 1986:355 ) . Other grounds for Malay “ indolence ” are that Malays did non desire to work hard because their economic additions would acquire confiscated by the local elites, and nature was bountiful so they did non hold to work hard for the long term.
During the colonial regulation the British derived their legitimacy from the Malay swayers, the British and the Malays had a particular relationship which both parties had a primary involvement in continuing. It ‘s of import to bear in head that the confederation was between the British settlers and the royal nobility, and non between the British and the peasantry. Traditionally, Malayans were loyal to the Sultan. The Malay provincials were “ willing to obey ( Raja or head ) blindly. ” ( Swettenham in Birch 1924: 198 ) . The British ‘s confederations with the Rajas reinforced the formal hierarchy of political power, with the Rulers. ( Snodgrass 1980:29 ) . In co-opting with the British, the Sultans achieved security, which they had non enjoyed before British regulation. Furthermore, the British helped to continue the place of the nobility as a category in relation to the Rakyat ( Butcher 1979: 9 ) . This proves how vulnerable the Malay provincials were to the British, and to the Sultans. The Malay provincials were largely economically rearward as a consequence of this “ Divide and Rule ” policy. When Malaya gained independency, the Malays were left impoverished, taking to some signifier of jealousy towards other races who were largely economically successful. This impression besides adds to our of understanding why there were public violences in 1969, and how that influenced the execution of the National Economic Policy ( NEP ) and why the Malays and the autochthonal groups were given Affirmative action.
Furthermore, the British had really ambivalent attitudes towards the Chinese. Hirschman explains that in the early decennaries the British were extremely dependent on Chinese entrepreneurial activity. They imposed revenue enhancements on opium and gaming, which were Chinese interests. The Chinese were admired for their industry and concern penetration ( Hirschman 1986:346 ) . They were seen as being able to work in any sort of status and being capable of civilisation of the highest sort. They had established themselves in Malacca and intermarried with the Malays, which led them to go babas or Straits Chinese. Ryter says that during the 1840-50 ‘s, the Chinese became involved in gold and Sn excavation which was controlled by the Sultans before ( Ryter 2005: 4 ) . Ryter besides mentions that the Chinese taking over the excavation industry from the grand Turks resulted in British intercession on the mainland.
The British justified their intercession and enlargement as a manner to protect and progress the autonomous Malay swayers and their people ( ibid 2005: 5 ) . Ryter besides mentions that the British subsequently developed a laissez faire attitude towards the Chinese in Sn excavation. This was because the British were profiting from the export revenue enhancements that they placed on Sn. The revenue enhancements were every bit high as 12 % and were the primary beginning of gross for the British settlement ( ibid: 5 ) . The excavation industry brought in more Chinese immigrants looking to do money. For them to mine Sn they needed inexpensive labors so they recruited more Chinese workers from southern China. These workers are referred to as Chinese Coolies. Their on the job conditions were hapless and they were frequently victims of development. The British tried to break their conditions by set uping a Chinese Protectorate in 1877, but they still felt that they were non responsible for the developments that the collies were having from fellow Chinese ( ibid 2005: 8 ) .
Now, we will look at race in Malaysia today. The Malayan society is by and large made up of cultural groups that came from China, India, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia and Other South – East Asia lands. Each cultural group in Malaysia was able to retain its ain beliefs, imposts and traditions. The cultural groups live together peacefully except for a little clash in footings of faith and political relations. Malaysia as a state besides tries to observe the different civilizations that incorporate it. Abdullah and Pedersen assert that
“ Malaya is one of the few states in the universe that accords national public vacations to the assorted spiritual festivals of its people- Hari Raya for Muslims, Lunar New Year for Chinese, Deepavali for Hindus and Christmas for Christians ” ( Abdullah and Pedersen 2003: 18 ) .
One may reason nevertheless on the disparities among different races. Malayan leaders have over the clip been able to blend the tensenesss between the Malays and other races by offering affirmatory action. As we mentioned earlier, the divide and regulation policy by the British impacted the manner Malayan races perceive each other and coupled economic activities with race. The tensenesss were fused by giving more economic power to the Malays through the NEP. However, these policies were viewed by the Indians as unfair because they focused a batch on advancing one race and marginalised the other, which led to a deprived Indian community in Malaysia. Status quo in Malaysia is a representation of precisely this. There is now a large spread in political relations. Let ‘s expression at how this spread was created. It began with the Nipponese invasion of Malaya in 1942, which is considered one of the prima causes of Malaysia deriving independency in 1957. Harmonizing to Kaplan and Baldauf, the Nipponese invasion was non wholly unwelcomed by the Malays ( Kaplan & A ; Baldauf 2003: 110 ) . The grounds for this is foremost, because they were dying to be rid of the British and secondly, because the Nipponese allowed them to be involved in higher degrees of disposal.
The old ages between 1945 and 1957 were filled with political convulsion and this is what sparked political consciousness among the Chinese, Indians, and the Malays. They each set up their ain racial political parties. The Malays set up UMNO ( United Malays National Organization ) , which represented the involvements of Malay blue bloods. The Chinese set up MCA ( Malayan Chinese Association ) , which represented Chinese Tokays and the Indians set up MIC ( Malayan Indian Congress ) , which represented higher category Indians ( Ryter 2005: 13 ) . All these groups formed an Alliance in 1954. This Alliance was the organic structure that negotiated footings for Malayan independency in 1957 ( Gomez 2004:55 ) . This was the first alliance political party and in 1973 it was replaced by Barisan Nasional that still exists today. The footings of this dialogue involved Malays acquiring particular position and political privileges, in exchange for the recognition of Chinese and Indian citizenship ( Ryter 2005: 16 ) .
Now, the Indians and the Chinese had traded their citizenship for recognizing the Malays as the particular race, with privileges and this thought seemed to be a win-win state of affairs for everyone. Impressionistically, or through insouciant observations and comparings, one would reason that at the terminal of the NEP ‘s 20-year clip border the Bumiputra ( particularly the Malays ) of Malaysia since the 1990s have surely been much better off, socially and economically than they were in the late sixtiess. ( Abdullah 1997:216 ) . This can explicate the bitterness that is felt by hapless Indians and Chinese who are still marginalised and experience that the Affirmative Action policy is non justified, particularly since it is in topographic point after it has been deemed successful for about 20 old ages. The 1Malaysia policy is trying to bridge this spread and to eventually unify the state ; it intends to provide for the demands of all sector of the plural society and to guarantee equal distribution of wealth between racial groups, between provinces and federal. ( Salleh 2009:1 ) .
In decision, based on the history of Malaysia both pre-colonial and post-colonial, we see how race helps us to the full understand modern-day Malaysia. We understand this by looking at why some policies are in topographic point. The British “ Divide and Rule ” left reverberations in the so Malaya that needed to be readjusted, the Chinese were seen as the successful business communities, the Malays were seen as the hapless race who blindly followed the Sultans, and were impoverished. The Indians were seen as a race that was hapless and unwilling to contend for the independency of Malaya. All these conditions and positions led to the preparation of policies like the NEP and its success has led to a focal point on the 1Malaysia construct, which attempts to hammer good dealingss in a plural society. The inquiry nevertheless, still remains ; can 1 Malaysia construct and Vision 2020 ‘s aims be achieved with the Affirmative Action policy in topographic point? Lone clip will state.