UMNO leaders (chiefly Dr Mahathir) and its supporters continue to launch their tirade against the Chinese community for the coalition's worse performance since the 1969 GE. BN had lost more than 90% of Chinese voters' support in the last GE. Since then, the shocking rejection by the community has been called the 'Chinese tsunami', 'betrayal', 'a rejection of Malay's friendship' etc.
Former Appeals Court Judge Mohd Noor Abdullah has urged non-Malays to repay the past “sacrifice” made by the Malays in allowing Bahasa Melayu (BM) to be written in the Roman script for the sake of national unity. He said the non-Malays must repay this sacrifice by learning BM, and using BM every day.
It is unclear if the Romanization of the Malay language was spearheaded by the British colonial master to help make it easier for its officers and other races (Chinese and Indian) to learn the language. Apart from the need to expand the use and adoption of the language, it is unclear if Mohd Noor's claim is credible. Even the Chinese government had introduced the Pinyin to allow more non-native speakers to learn the language. It was a foreign policy decision rather than a sacrifice on the part of the Chinese government.
Mohd Noor, who courted controversy last month when he warned the Chinese community of a backlash from the Malays for their "betrayal" in the 13th general election, today claimed the Malays allowed use of the Roman script at the cost of distancing themselves from the Quran and Hadith.
Blaming the lack of proficiency of Jawi on the non-Malays is another self-denial made by the honourable ex-judge. During my primary school days, some of my Chinese friends had attended Jawi classes for six years and a number of them were more proficient in the language than most of the Malay classmates. The motivation to learn is intrinsically driven. It does not make sense for Mohd Noor to claim that by using the Roman script the Malays are distancing themselves from the Quran and Hadith.
I had argued elsewhere that it is easy to put a religious label on any conflict or shortcoming of a community. However, it takes a bold and credible community leader to identify and acknowledge the weakness and shortcoming. Self denial is going to prolong the issue and not helping to correct it. Mohd Noor is a classic case of a human ostrich.
He also reiterated his stand that the existence of Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools is inconsistent with the federal constitution.
According to the former judge, such schools should be converted to national schools.
The move, he said, would ensure that the use of BM develops well in official affairs and does not compete with the two other languages, which will also be used as mediums in schools.
Mohd Noor should strive to understand the background of the Chinese vernacular schools. During the British colonial era, the Chinese were left to their own instrument including the education of their own children. These schools were started as self funded schools by the Chinese community. Education for the Malays and their aristocrats were funded and governed by the Bristish.
During the independence, the Alliance formed by the three core parties UMNO, MCA and MIC had agreed to recognize and allow the continuation of the vernacular schools system but these schools will continue to be funded by their respective community.
The current education system is a relic of the Alliance coalition. If the vernacular education system is unconstitutional, it means the 3 parties had committed a constitutional contempt and should be charged in the constitutional court. If Mohd Noor is so adamant that he is right, he should file a case against these perpetrators.
I would like to point out that a good proficiency of the Malay language does not guarantee a fair treatment from the BN government. I had scored a distinction in the Malay Literature but it did not guarantee me a place in the course of my choice despite having obtained the qualification points. A place in the local university was decided based on the colour of my skin and not my proficiency of the Malay language.
If Mohd Noor is true proponent of national unity, it is more credible for him to call for the end of the Bumi and Non-Bumi segregation and division and to ban all race based political parties.
What does UMNO hope to achieve with the continuation of the Chinese demonization? I support a truly Bangsa Malaysia. It does not make me a racist calling for equality and focus on nationality rather than ethnicity.
It is time for UMNO to wake up!