Its been 52 years since independence of Malaya. Well many East Malaysians are still kinda irked as they claim Malaysia is not complete without us Sabah and Sarawak which joined Malaya a few years later and formed Malaysia.
Overall I would say it has been good. There were the ups and downs. I think this few years is a down year.
Malaysia’s National Day soured by new racial woes
(philstar.com) Updated August 30, 2009 03:00 PM
KUALA LUMPUR (AP) — Malaysia’s National Day celebrations this week have been soured by new racial troubles as minority ethnic Chinese and Indians fear Muslim Malay nationalists are gaining power.
In a rare overt display of the tensions, dozens of Muslims paraded Friday with the bloodied head of a cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism, to protest the proposed construction of a Hindu temple in their neighborhood.
The intolerance cast a shadow over Malaysia’s nation-building efforts as it celebrates 52 years of independence from British rule on Monday.
“Increasingly after 52 years, Malaysia is at a crossroad,” James Chin, a political science professor at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur, said today.
“We are heading toward an intolerant society where fundamentalists and extremists are hijacking the national agenda to become a prosperous multiracial Malaysia,” he told The Associated Press.
In a recent case, a Muslim woman was sentenced to caning by an Islamic court for drinking beer in public. Authorities last week agreed to review the penalty after many Malaysians said it damaged the country’s reputation as a moderate Muslim-majority nation.
Also this month, officials curbed the retail sale of liquor in a central state and barred Muslims from a concert next month by the U.S. group the Black Eyed Peas because it is sponsored by Irish beer giant Guinness.
Although these examples involve actions by Muslims toward other Muslims, many Malaysians worry they are a reflection of the growing clout of Islamic hard-liners that will eventually effect other minorities.
The inter-religious discord is a particular concern for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is trying to promote racial equality.
Malaysia has carefully nurtured harmony among its three main ethnic groups — Malays, Chinese and Indians who are Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Sikh — since 1969, when the country suffered its worst racial riots.
But racial tensions have increased in recent years amid complaints by minorities that their rights are being eroded as the influence of Islamic hard-liners grows.
Ethnic Malays, who make up 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people, control the government. Minority Chinese make up 25 percent of the population and Indians about 8 percent.
The cow head protest in central Selangor state marred the country’s anniversary festivities, which already have been scaled down to curb the spread of swine flu and respect the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Some 50 demonstrators marched from a mosque after Friday prayers and dumped the cow head outside the state government building. They warned of bloodshed if the Hindu temple is built in their majority Muslim neighborhood.
Lim Kit Siang, an opposition leader, said the protest was a slap to Najib’s racial equality campaign known as “1Malaysia.”
“The cow-head sacrilege must serve as an ominous warning that Najib’s first National Day celebration as prime minister will go down as a black National Day if the genies of racism and religious chicanery are allowed to get out of the bottle,” Lim said.
Najib hasn’t made any public comment so far on the protest. Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam said the incident infuriated the prime minister, who asked the national police chief to investigate.
Ruling party politicians have also condemned the protest.
“What happened was insensitive, and I hope that it will not adversely affect the country’s racial harmony,” Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.
Well… the future still seem to be quite uncertain. One thing is for sure, I’m going to go out meet my friends and have a good time. And try to stay off topics of politics. Cos I have no idea whats going on there.
Happy 52nd! Malaya!