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Posted on on December 20th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

We were watching Malaysia since our visit there looking into reasons for air pollution and the effects of the fires set in Indonesia by Malaysian companies planting oil-trees. We saw the division between Malay, Chinese, and Indians. We saw in the north Al Qaeda type of Islamics preaching in the open. We saw a future of conflict and heard a Mahatir leadership that spoke about Jews like Ahmadinejad does now. Without its Chinese and Indian middle class the country will suffer serious retreat, but to be in front you had to be Malay. What now?
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007
EDITORIAL, The Japanese Times online.


The arrest of leaders of an ethnic Indian rights group shines a spotlight on rising tensions in Malaysia. The government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi appears unnerved by growing protests; its resort to the Internal Security Act (ISA) is a troubling sign. The focus of complaint is charges of discrimination against Indians, a minority in Malaysia. This sensitive and politically charged issue has to be addressed with subtlety and tact; mere repression will only make things worse.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in recent weeks in Malaysia. Opposition leaders first led marches demanding electoral reform. They were followed a couple of weeks later by ethnic Indians protesting government policies that institutionalize discrimination in the form of preferences for native Malays. Indians, who make up about 8 percent of the population, have long complained that they miss political, economic and education opportunities.

The government denies charges of discrimination. There are assertions that some Indian protest leaders are linked to terrorist groups. The call by one of the ethnic Indian leaders for India to halt trade with Malaysia opens the door to sedition charges. As the situation intensifies — the government used tear gas and water cannons against marchers last month — five leaders were arrested under the ISA, which allows confinement without trial for up to two years. Other demonstrators have been arrested under less draconian measures.

The ISA has not been used against political opposition since 2001. Mr. Badawi is unapologetic, saying the government must be accountable to the whole. Protest leaders are equally unyielding; they warn that the protest movement has depth and there are ample replacements for any who are locked up.

The unrest is a warning to the Malaysian government that change is a must. While preferences that benefit Malays make some political sense, the program has been exploited; corruption has become endemic and a wide swath of citizens wants accountability. Silencing critics will not solve this problem.

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One Response to “Malaysia On The Rocks – It Could Have Been A Normal Multi-Ethnic Country But The Islamic World Did Not Allow This.”

  1. rajah Says:

    To whom it may concern.
    I am malaysian indian. It is true what the five ethnic indian representive claim .
    Everything we (chinese and indian ) want to do must go through them. To apply for a job in goverment
    they (malay ) they got got the 1st choice. Every goverment job occupied by them. In private sector , if we want get goverment tender we must have malay sleeping partner. most of the rich chinese and indian in malaysia they become rich because of thier hard working. but malay support by goverment.
    They can’t improve themself . recently malaysia scrap metal business run by indian community and goverment tender given to them but now all tender given to malay. therefore if we want to do scrap metal business we must have a malay partner. its not fare to us , we work hard and they enjoy.
    the present goverment are rotten.

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