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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When will kindness prevail?

By Datuk Zaid Ibrahim | TMI

Another school fiasco has taken place if the reports about the schoolchildren in Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh are correct.

The children were required to use the changing room next to the toilet as a makeshift canteen because the canteen itself was closed for the fasting month.

Predictably, the DPM has ordered a probe and probably the other education minister will express some regret over the incident. This is not the first time such ugliness has marred our school halls.

In 2010, the principal of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Johor made it to the news for making racial remarks against her Chinese and Indian students.

Typically, in such incidents after the furor has died down all is forgotten.

Then another incident unfolds because Malay and Muslim administrators do not think non-Malays and non-Muslims are important enough to be treated with respect and dignity.

What has happened is the result of heightened Malay-Muslim consciousness, promoted by politicians and Islamic bureaucrats who-under the cloak of race and in some cases religion or both-want to be identified as champions of their race and religion.

But by invoking false ideologies of patriotism and Islamisation, they have invaded the public space and filled the minds of the people with so much indoctrinal nonsense that some Malays and Muslims have forgotten basic human decency and moral values in their interpersonal relationship with others.

The process has numbed the conscience of these administrators, a condition described by our Malay elders as "hilang hati perut".

It means they have lost their sense of fairness, empathy and understanding and can no longer appreciate the consequence of their actions on others who do not belong to their group.

They simply no longer care enough.

These false champions of their race and religion then blame non-Malays and non-Muslims for being insensitive.

Just this morning a deputy minister blamed the Chinese for organising a beauty contest knowing about the fatwa issue, implying the Chinese must also follow the fatwa.

Some silly bloggers may have given them the ammunition to justify what they say, but by and large, non-Malays and non-Muslims have always been respectful of Malays and Muslims for as long as I can remember.

For many years after independence, the Chinese and Indians have always stayed in the background and known their place under the Malaysian sun.

In fact, their reluctance to be involved was interpreted as apathy and unwillingness to be involved in nation-building.

Now, the younger generation wants to have a say and for that they are accused of being ungrateful.

Suddenly, these young Malaysians are being labelled as unpatriotic.

A special course on nationhood has been invoked by no less a figure than the Regent of Perak, implying that non-Malays and non-Muslims are found wanting in their sense of national loyalty.

On the contrary, I believe that, if at all, the ones who need to undergo a course on nationhood are Malays and Muslims who have forgotten that there are Malaysians who are unlike them.

I am tired of listening to some of our so-called leaders hand out their prescriptions for what ails the country.

The non-Malays and non-Muslims must stand up for their rights; because only then will we have a country of equals.

The Malays will also benefit from this situation where people are treated as they should be treated, with fairness and equanimity.

The real culprits for the present day distortion are the Malays who always blame the Chinese for their shortcomings, and the false Muslim preachers who teach the Muslims to have an all-consuming fear of God but then conveniently forget that Allah commands us to look after our fellow beings more than ourselves.

What ails the country are these false teachings and false ideologies that are bereft of human decency and dignity, making meaningful relationships among the people of this country difficult to achieve.

So on his 60th birthday, can we have our PM (Prime Minister) say and do something that will right the moral compass of good behaviour between Malays and non-Malays?

Remove the distorting prism that guides our present actions purely on the basis of race or beliefs.

Can we agree that Malaysians of whatever group are human beings first, and that they deserve equal and fair treatment?

Advanced countries put a premium on developing a caring and compassionate society and so should we.

Success certainly cannot be measured by GDP (gross domestic product) and per capita income alone. - July 24, 2013.

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