Skip to comments.Why do they hate us?(India-Malaysia tensions)
Posted on 12/02/2007 4:17:45 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Why do they hate us?
It may have hit international headlines only now but the ethnic tensions in Malaysia have been simmering for some years. At the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Malaysia has been on the watch-list for about a half-decade. A combustible mix of Kuala Lumpur's internal and external policies has been waiting to explode.
It is important to understand how Indians got to be in Malaysia in the first place. While historical links, Chola-era trade, and a steady cargo of culture and commodities, Hindu influence and the Sanskrit language have all been around, the modern migration of, largely, Tamil peasants came about in the 19th century. The British took them to East Asia as indentured labour.
To be fair, the Tamils were not the only ones shipped to the Straits of Malacca by the colonial government. In his book Forging the Raj (Oxford, 2005), the Berkeley historian Thomas R Metcalf writes an engrossing essay titled "Sikh Recruitment for Colonial Military and Police Forces" and discusses the causes and effects of Sikh soldiers and policemen doing duty in the late 19th century Malay peninsula.
It was a culture shock. "The Indians were there in large measure simply to overawe and intimidate the local population, in part by their sheer physical size," Metcalf writes. He quotes a contemporary observer as remarking that the sultan of Pahang "strongly objects to the importation of Sikhs into Pahang saying that they are rough and ignorant of Malay customs".
Eventually the Sikh military recruits came home, but the Tamil plantation workers were left without the exit option. Today, they make up eight per cent of Malaysia's population. Ethnic Chinese are another 25 per cent and the majority Malays 60 per cent.
In 1957, Malaysia became independent and embarked on an aggressive Malays-first social policy. This sought to secure the levers of economic and political power for the majority community. Problems with the ethnic minorities persisted. In 1963 Singapore joined the Malaysia federation but walked out two years later in what was seen as an assertion of ethnic Chinese identity.
In 1969, there were bloody riots between Malays and Chinese in Malaysia. The suspicion has not gone but the presence of a powerful economic giant called Singapore next door -- in the city-state, 75 per cent of all permanent residents are Chinese and 14 per cent Malays -- has meant a balance is maintained.
Singapore is not afraid to speak up for Malaysia's Chinese minorities; the ethnic Indians, however, have had no matching support from an external homeland.
Race to religion
Till the early 1990s, Malaysia seemed an economic miracle, one of the "Asian Tigers", cited as a model for slowcoach, socialist India. It was patronised in the 1980s by the Japanese and GDP growth rates kept social angularities firmly in check. For instance, the bumiputera (the term for Malays, derived from the Sanskrit bhoomiputra or son of the soil) system required Indian businessmen to compulsorily give away 30 per cent of their equity to a Malay partner.
By the mid-1990s, the Asian currency crisis had taken its toll. The Japanese economy too had gone into long-term slumber. Malaysia suddenly found itself without its old anchors. It sought to blame the outsider for its new-found problems -- the West, which did not understand "Asian values"; international currency market operators, who had allegedly destabilised Malaysia's ringgit; and at home, the Indian minorities.
It was convenient that the Malaysian Indians were largely Hindu. As it happened, by the late 1990s Mahatir Mohammed, Malaysia's leader for over 20 years ending 2003 -- and, ironically, a man with Indian/ Malayalee as well as Malay blood in his veins -- had discovered the political utility of Islam. "Malaysia has encountered a steady Wahabbisation and Arabisation for some years now," says a senior diplomat in Singapore.
While there have also been issues with the ethnic Chinese -- largely over economic control -- the hostility to the Indians "has acquired a religious edge", with openly provocative actions being resorted to since at least 2005 (see box).
In the early 1980s, two Asian countries used Japanese collaborations to set up flagship "national" car manufacturing companies. India partnered Suzuki to set up Maruti; Malaysia used Mitsubishi's expertise to build Proton. Maruti still prospers, but Proton has floundered with the rest of the Malaysian economy and is now making losses.
In November 2007, the Economist reported that Proton had drawn up a revival blueprint. It would produce an "Islamic car" -- with add-ons like a compass pointing in the direction of Mecca and storage space for a prayer mat -- for sale in Iran and Turkey, and possibly Indonesia and Pakistan.
The idea of an "Islamic car" may sound bizarre but it is not out of place in Kuala Lumpur's current political climate. Since he became Prime Minister in 2003, the Government of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has resorted to similarly egregious Islamic symbolism in its external relations.
"Malaysia is seeking relevance on the global map," explains a senior Indian Foreign Service official, "and it has decided it must lead both the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement. In fact, it has been instrumental in making the OIC the key driving force within NAM."
In short, Badawi's Malaysia is positioning itself against the United States and gravitating towards China. This has also meant that Malays will not target ethnic Chinese; they don't want to embarrass big brother in Beijing.
Odd man out
There are three reasons why, analysts point out, Malaysia has come to look upon India and Indians as an inconvenience. For a start, India is the principle senior member opposing Badawi's and the OIC's attempt to turn NAM into a rabble-rousing collective that is not just anti-American but actively pro-Islamist.
Second, India and China are fighting a proxy war in ASEAN through, respectively, Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore wants India's integration with East Asia, citing Hindu/Buddhist cultural affinities and economic and strategic commonalities. Malaysia is being used by China to block India.
Third, while Pakistan is not geographically close to ASEAN or East Asia, it has come to exercise great influence on Malaysia's India view. Shaukat Aziz, former prime minister of Pakistan, has played a pivotal role. "When Aziz was with Citibank in Malaysia," recalls a PMO official in Delhi, "he became a very close personal friend of Badawi. This served them when they came to lead their countries."
In November, for instance, just days before India and ASEAN were to negotiate their Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Malaysia announced it had signed a separate FTA with Pakistan. "This would have little economic impact on India," said a Government official, "but it gave out a negative message. Malaysia was clearly not interested in the India-ASEAN FTA."
By oppressing its Indian minorities at home, preferring Pakistan to India, and positing a Beijing-Islamabad-Kuala Lumpur axis against a possible Singapore-New Delhi-Tokyo (not to speak of Washington) alliance in the new Great Game unfolding in East Asia, Malaysia is, therefore, sending out very strong signals.
India cannot fail to read them right.
* In 2005, M Moorthy, a soldier in the Malaysian Army, is killed. Mullahs seize his body and bury it under Islamic rites. Moorthy's widow is rebuffed, told Sharia courts override civil judiciary.
* On October 30, 2007, a week before Diwali, the century-old Maha Mariamman temple in Padang Jawa is demolished. This is part of a series of similar demolitions, Hindus say.
* On November 25, 2007, 5,000 activists of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), a body of Malaysian Indians, are brutally attacked by riot policemen near the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. They were marching towards the British High Commission to stage a symbolic protest against London's inability to guarantee constitutional liberties to ethnic Indians when it gave Malaysia independence.
> It was convenient that the Malaysian Indians were largely Hindu. As it happened, by the late 1990s Mahatir Mohammed, Malaysia’s leader for over 20 years ending 2003 — and, ironically, a man with Indian/ Malayalee as well as Malay blood in his veins — had discovered the political utility of Islam. “Malaysia has encountered a steady Wahabbisation and Arabisation for some years now,” says a senior diplomat in Singapore.
Amazing! In less than two generations, the muzzies subjugated this country from within to make it an Islamic cesspool.
As an American, I am happy that Malaysia has at least one other country to hate. It would have been pretty boring for the Bumiputera to have to chant the same boring slogans day after day.
The radical madrassas (Islamic schools) offer free room and board (paid for from subsidies from Arab oil) in exchange for submitting to indoctrination. Graduates become radical imams in the mosques (again with Arab subsidies). The net effect is they take over within a generation or two
I think Malaysia has pretty high economic indicators compared to most Islamic nations(almost near to Persian Gulf states)-it’s made amazing progress since the past 30 years & it cannot be attributed to Arab oil.
I wonder how the average Bumiputras feel about China & Chinese-not too great in all probability.
And doesn't Malaysia have discrimination against Chinese written into their constitution?
Yeah, envy is a pretty destructive thing.
The emotion the average Bumiputera SHOULD feel toward the Chinese and Malayo-Chinese is pure gratitude. The place would be nothing if not for the peranakan laut.
I'm not talking about Arab money going towards the country as a whole. I'm talking about Arab money being used to cultivate selected individuals as agents of influence in various Islamic countries, through subsidies of radical madrassas and imams
If you have traveled in Malaysia, you cannot help but notice that any domestic business of any size is run by ethnic Chinese and, to a lesser extent, Indians. Any foreign business is Japanese and, to a lesser extent, American.
The Malay majority, while nowhere near as shiftless and uneducated as, say, the Arabs in Saudi Arabia, is visible only in government posts or running 7-11 type businesses.
Malaysia has traditionally done well financially because it has welcomed foreign investment and treated local capitalists like the engines of economic growth which they are.
Interesting article. Thanks for posting.
In a word: ISLAM.
And that Malay majority is transforming itself into a bunch of Coconut Arabs just as fast as it can. Saudi Oil money is the engine of an Arab cultural imperialism that transcends anything the area has ever seen.
the question to ask is, "who cares?"
For me between Singapore and Malaysia its a clear choice. I think we should be cautious about our military sales to Malaysia.
The problem with India trying to be more forceful would be ASEAN showing a collective aversion,since most of the members essentially have political arrangements similar to Malaysia.
This is an article by the usually hardhitting B Raman-
MALAYSIA: INDIA RUSHES IN WHERE CHINA FEARS TO TREAD
Why should anyone (Malaysia included) be expected to tolerate foreigners in their country. Indians fought long and hard to remove foreigners from their country, now they complain because people are treating them the same as they treated foreigners until 1947.
If you think those Malaysian Indians should leave Malaysia,then you should also agree that all those White Australians & White/Black Americans should also leave their current homelands-afterall they are foreigners over there.
Those Indians have little in common with the land of their origin barring their religion.Many were brought as indentured labourers by the British when they colonised Malaya 2 centuries ago,while others came as merchants.
Actually, I do not think those Indians ‘should’ do anything. They should do what is best for them. And if they think it is best for them to colonise foreign countries (something which many of my own countrymen used to think would be good for us), then they should do it. BUT, they should not expect the Malaysians to love them, or even tolerate them, while they are occupying their land. There is no objective right or wrong when it comes to international politics. It is all subjective.
As for the Australians and Americans, neither are objectively ‘foreign’. Most Australians are White (or Anglo-Celtic as they refer to themselves), thus to most Australians, it is the Aborigines who are foreign, though to the latter, the former is foreign. To an Indian in Malaysia, the Malay are foreign, to the Malay, the Indians are foreign. And anyway, in general, the Aborigines and Amerindians, understandably, hate the Whites who conquered them and took their land. If you ever spoke to either group you would be well aware of this. That is unsurprising. Nor is it that the Malay do not like foreigners in their country. That is human nature for you. If the Malay did like foreigners in their country, the British would still rule it (as with your own country). In the same way that I understand why Indians hate the English, I understand why Malays hate the Indians in their country.
There are no rights to anything in this world, only those you take for yourself. The Americans and Australians fought and won land. If the Aborigines or Amerindians want their land back, then they should try and take it. Maybe, with the birth rate differentials and everything, that will happen in the future (though with the immigration crisis in both countries, it will not be long before both pieces of land are in the ownership of people who the Americans and Australians consider foreign, and it will not be the Amerindians or Aborigines).
This is what irks me about the article, and the bit at the bottom about the Indians complaining about the British not giving them rights as a community in Malaysia upon decolonisation. Not only do they want to occupy other people’s land (which is human nature) they want the people of that land to stop complaining about it AND they want foreign countries half a world away to help them do it. THe British did not give Brits in Malaysia speciual rights why should we give the Indians special rights. In fact Britain never gave Brits special rights in India, and the Indians certainly will never give Brits any. The double standards of kicking foreigners out of your country, then expecting others to accept you into their country is breathtaking. It would be like an American expecting an Amerindian to be happy at the destruction of their culture. By all means, take land and colonise it, just do not expect the people who own the land to accept it and lie down.
If the Indians in Malaysia have so little in common with India, why are they classing themselves as Indians?
As for the indentured servitude, what is your point? Many of the early European settlers of America were also indentured servants, and many of the early Australians were criminals. The early Aussies they did not go by choice. Does this mean that the Aborigines should accept them. Maybe you should tell them that.
Whereas Britain left Malaysia decades ago, the Indians are still there, no-one is forcing them to stay. In fact the Malaysians are doing quite the opposite.
Umm,neither ‘India’ nor ‘Malaysia’ existed when those Indians were sent to Malaysia-Malay nationalism is a very recent phenomenon(about 25 years old),which evolved due to variety of reasons.When those Indians arrived,both the Malays as well as themselves were little more than Slaves,with little meaningful identity-so there is little question of anyone occupying anyone’s land.
About blaming Britain,well many of them didn’t come on their own initiative,did they???Britain has much responsibility towards these people as they had to the Asian expelled from Uganda in the 70s or those residents of Hong Kong who opted to leave after the Chinese takeover.
Throughout countries of the region-you have indignious populations,Chinese immigrants & Indian-all primarily divided among ethnic & social lines.If they are not classifying themselves as Indians-well they will be classified anyway by the others around them.
Big difference between indentured labourers going to Australia or the Americas-it is not a small difference if they are of the same stock as the local populace.It’s different in Malaysia or Fiji.
‘Umm,neither India nor Malaysia existed when those Indians were sent to Malaysia-Malay nationalism is a very recent phenomenon(about 25 years old),which evolved due to variety of reasons.When those Indians arrived,both the Malays as well as themselves were little more than Slaves,with little meaningful identity-so there is little question of anyone occupying anyones land.’
Umm, that’s great. The Amerindians also had no meaningful identity when the Europeans arrived, they were composed of individua tribes who spent more time fighting each other than the real foreign invaders. So this means there is no question of Europeans (now known as Americans) taking their land. Same goes for the Australian Aborigines. Also, when the East India oil company first set up shop in Surat, there was no meaningful Indian idty, as you have already pointed out. So that means it was alright, by your logic, for the British to take Indian land - right? As for indentured servants being slaves, indentured servitude was VOLUNTARY, and all servants had the right to return home after five years. Unfortunately for the Malaysians, the Indians chose to stay.
‘About blaming Britain,well many of them didnt come on their own initiative,did they???Britain has much responsibility towards these people as they had to the Asian expelled from Uganda in the 70s or those residents of Hong Kong who opted to leave after the Chinese takeover.’
As I pointed out above, they actually did go of their own accord. Britain (or any other country in the world) has no responsibility to anyone but the their own people. The state serves the nation. Britain is responsible for Brits and Brits alone. If Britain wanted to, it could have said ‘Idi Amin doesn’t want you in his country? neither do we, go back to India’. Not only did Britain allow Indians (and of course people from every corner of the earth) to take their land, they actually gave them grants to help them set up businesses. Have a guess how many Brits (or Americans for that matter) have been helped by the state to set up businesses over the past 30 years. It is a number between -1 and 1.
Indians have little in common genetically wih either Malaysians or Fijians, but I will concentrate on the latter? Are you saying Indians have anything in commom culturally, ethnically or genetically with Mela/Polynesians. A joke surely. If they did, maybe the Indians would not have kept speeking Hindustani, despite the community having been there since the 19th century. Maybe some would deign to speak Bau Fijian. Either way, the Fijians hate Indians even more than the Malaysians, and do not want them in their country. Neither do they have a ‘responsibility’ to tolerate the foreign occupation.
Genetic studies (such as the one done by Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza in 1994 - The History and Geography of human genes) generally show Europeans to be genetically closer to Amerindians than Indians are to Pacific Islanders. So, if India has a ‘right’ to colonise Fiji, Europeans had a ‘right’ to colonise America. And India for that matter, as the same study showed Europeans to be genetically closer to Indians than Indians are to Fijians.
About the lack of indentity part,well that explains why the Malay peninsula & India were colonized easily-Can’t blame the foreigners if the natives have no idea of how a fellow 20 miles away lives like.
Indentured servitude was voluntary,yes...on paper.That much about that.
About the Brits being responsible,as I said,read up what these people went to work for-they went to work for Britain in a British colony as subjects.Most of them gave up everything they had in India when they left-at a time when India itself didn’t exist.
Where did I say that Indians had anything in common with those folks??????Why don’t you tell me if things would have been different if the convicts & labourers sent to Australia were non-English,non-white persons?????????
About Fijians or Malays not tolerating these people-why were they granted citizenship there after independence???
Who said anything about India or anyone have any right to colonise Fiji or America?????This is about people getting basic rights to live a life of dignity.Be they the whites of Zimbabwe or Indians in Malaysia.
Yes, but as I say,they went of their own accord, and bear as much responsibility for their presence in Malaysia as the British do. But, you could say, the British attempted to put things right by leaving (though, of course, decolonisation by Britain as pure self-interest, like everything else in international politics). The Indians failed to do so. As for Britain being responsible (as the protestors in the article are saying), Britain had two options. Give the Indians the special rights they demand, and thus legitimise the further colonisation of Malaysia by foreigners (a ridculous idea, as the fact that the Malaysians did not want a foreign presence in their country was exactly why Britain was leaving). The other option Britain had, the only way to truly make up for their ‘mistake’, their insult to the Malay, was to deport every last Indian in Malaysia back to the Motherland. Would you rather that?
‘Where did I say that Indians had anything in common with those folks??????’
You seemed to imply in post 21 and 22 that the foundation of America was unnacceptable, due to the major differences between the Europeans and Amerindians, but that the Indian in Malaysia/Fiji question was different, due to them being of ‘similar stock’ (your words).
‘Why dont you tell me if things would have been different if the convicts & labourers sent to Australia were non-English,non-white persons?????????’
Sorry, I don’t understand your point.
‘About Fijians or Malays not tolerating these people-why were they granted citizenship there after independence???’
I don’t know. Maybe their leaders did not care about their people’s well-being. Why did Indian leaders allow the British to get a foot-hold in India? Naivety? stupidity? It does not alter the fact that the Indians did not tolerate the Brits in their country (regardless of the fact that their own leaders let them in), just as the Malay do not tolerate Indians in their country (regardless of the fact that the Malay leaders granted them citizenship). If the Indians in Malaysia have citizenship, what more do they want? Kingship perhaps?
Ok,how about a third option for Britain(which many people availed of) would have been to offer them asylum in Britain.For the simple fact that most of those Indians/Englishmen or anyone else had come to these lands generations ago.The only thing most Malaysian Indians have in common with their ancestral land is their language(which itself has evolved) & their religion.If sent back,they would have been strangers back there as well.
Dude,the similar stock referred to the fact that those indentured labourers or convicts from England,who were sent to the New World were of the same stock as those who had already colonised there.IOW,they were mostly white,Christian English/Irish folks.That’s way different from the Indians or Sri Lankans who were taken to Malaya or Fiji by the Brits.Got my point???Now which of these 2 categories is likely to adjust better to their new settings??
I never said a word about the founding of the US-if anything,by your logic,that should be unacceptable given the Europeans were foreigners.
The Malay leaders offered Indians citizenship for obvious reasons-because they had left their homelands generations before & had nowhere to go.
About what the Indians want-well did citizenship prevent the Jews from being gassed??Did it prevent the Black south Africans being beaten up??OrOr is it of any use to those white Zimbabweans who have lost everything to Mugabe’s thugs???What all these people want & deserve is the right to the live with dignity & with equal opportunities.Civilised nations offer that.
And why would Brits want even more foreigners in their country. In fact, scrap that, the English pretty much ARE foreigners in England. There are at least 1.2 million Indians in Britain alone, 2% of the population (at the height of the Raj there was only ever 100,000 Brits in India, 0.04% of the population). The Indians may have little in common with the Malay, but they also have little in comon with the English. Indians are strangers in England too. Though possibly less so than the English.
‘Dude,the similar stock referred to the fact that those indentured labourers or convicts from England,who were sent to the New World were of the same stock as those who had already colonised there.IOW,they were mostly white,Christian English/Irish folks.Thats way different from the Indians or Sri Lankans who were taken to Malaya or Fiji by the Brits.Got my point???Now which of these 2 categories is likely to adjust better to their new settings??’
Fair point, but I would say that Indians were not ‘taken’ to Malaysia by the Brits, they went with them.
‘I never said a word about the founding of the US-if anything,by your logic,that should be unacceptable given the Europeans were foreigners.’
Unnacceptable to the Amerindians yes (which is why they hate Whites). But acceptable to the Whites. As I said, it is all about perspective. If there was any sort of objective morality in international affairs, there would be less wars, wouldn’t there. Again, human nature.
‘About what the Indians want-well did citizenship prevent the Jews from being gassed??Did it prevent the Black south Africans being beaten up??OrOr is it of any use to those white Zimbabweans who have lost everything to Mugabes thugs???What all these people want & deserve is the right to the live with dignity & with equal opportunities.Civilised nations offer that.’
As I said, there are no rights in the world, the only rights people have are those their superiors deign to give them, or those they win for themselves. As for equal opportunities in civilised nations, I suppose as an Englishman, if I went to live in India I would be given the same opportunities as the Indians, right? Like hell I would. And why would I be? I am a foreigner to Indians (an evil Anglo -Saxon Imperialist foreigner at that), and it is human nature to treat your kin better than foreigners. As in India, as in Malaysia, as in Fiji.
As for ‘civilised nations’. A nation that does not suspect foreigners is a dying nation. Just look at the West. Look at England, America, France, Canada, Sweden. By the end of this century (probably a lot sooner), none of these nations will exist. They will be dead.
Most people who have studied the history of labourers taken by colonists to foreign lands will tell you that the only rights they had were those on paper(which most couldn’t read anyway).
About equal opportunities as an Englishman or an American in India-you would get those.Be it at a workplace or school or buying property & I know several who have avail of those-for a variety of reasons.You can’t vote,or get state subsidies-because you don’t hold Indian citizenship-the same applies to Indians who are citizens of foreign lands.There are several million more refugees in India than the US or UK-these include Nepalese,Tibetans & Bangladeshis.Do they get opportunities????yes they do.
About suspecting foreigners,well sure-Whose fault is it that Mexicans get a free pass in the US or some North African scumbag can rant about killing infidels in London in the name of free speech???Equal opportunities doesn’t mean bending over backwards to appease thugs-which is what is happening there.
The Malaysian Orang Asli have the oldest DNA in the world.
>>I think Malaysia has pretty high economic indicators compared to most Islamic nations(almost near to Persian Gulf states)-its made amazing progress since the past 30 years & it cannot be attributed to Arab oil.
How much of that is due to the influence of the ethnic Chinese?
We see looking across the Islamic world that most of them can’t do squat, economically, unless they’re sitting on top of a pool of oil. Is Malaysia somehow different?
You could say that the ethnic Chinese laid the foundations with their dominance of commerce-The Government though has aggressively courted foreign investment in various sectors & tapped the tourism/rubber/palm oil sectors to the fullest.
Tensions might get worse - today also happens to be the Selangor Sultan's birthday.