KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The recent racial and religious tensions were sparked by “chauvinist” non-Malays and non-Muslims claiming Malaysia was a secular country and their complaints about marginalisation, Malay-Islamist group Isma said today.
Its deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya said today in a statement questioning the loyalty of non-Malays that it was such challenges and not the group’s claims that Chinese Malaysians were “trespassers” that had heightened tensions.
According to Aminuddin, Malays are the most tolerant race in the world and have been accommodating and patient with the entry of non-Malays into the country although it subsequently transformed the racial makeup of the country, but the feelings have not been reciprocated by other races.
“If we look thoroughly we will find that the statement by Muslim Malays was only a response to this chauvinist group. They were the ones who started it,” Aminuddin said in Isma’s website.
“I am confident that if other races would stop hurting the feelings of Muslim Malays then surely Muslim Malays would not have retaliated.”
In the article, Aminuddin claimed that critics of the group had kept silent towards non-Malays’ extremism, but instead were angry at Malays for just defending themselves.
Earlier this month, Isma claimed that the influx of Chinese migrants into Tanah Melayu had been “a mistake” which must be rectified, but stopped short of saying how this could be achieved.
According to Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, the ethnic group were considered trespasser into Malay land, and had been brought by British colonialists to oppress Malays.
The police had since confirmed that it is probing Isma under the Sedition Act 1948 for the remark.
Aminuddin listed down today 15 examples of non-Malays’ allegedly extreme action, which he said caused the Malays to be taken advantage of and manipulated in their own land.
These included non-Malays claiming that Malaysia is a secular nation and claiming that other religions beside Islam had been marginalised.
In response to the 15 acts, Aminuddin questioned non-Malays’ response towards Isma’s statement, which he claimed was disproportionate.
He also questioned how the defensive statement could have been construed as a racist and seditious remark, and whether it is fair that Malay-Muslims cannot respond when they are being attacked.
In supporting the continuation of Malay special “rights”, Isma had in its seminar and events suggested that the community were the original settlers of Malaysia, describing the native indigenous Orang Asli as sharing the same ethnic roots with the Malays.
The Malays and Bumiputera make up the majority of Malaysia’s population at an estimated 67.4 per cent of the 28.3 million population, followed by the Chinese at 24.6 per cent, according to the most recent census at 2010.
The Chinese in Malaysia were mostly brought into Malaya from Southern China provinces such as Fujian and Guangdong by British colonists during 19th and 20th century to make up their workforce in the then booming tin mines and rubber plantations.
However, Chinese settlers have also been recorded as early as the 15th century during the spread of the Malacca Empire, which even then had formed friendly diplomatic relations.