Friday, February 26, 2010

STUPID WAY TO FIND THE SMARTEST PERSONS IN MALAYSIA. – PART II.

…WE ALREADY HAVE THE TALENTED AND THE HIGHLY QUALIFIED, BUT THEY ARE NEGLECTED AND IGNORED AND EVEN SABOTAGED.
By Mansor Puteh



THE SYSTEM DID NOT HAVE ANY PLACE FOR THE HIGHLY QUALIFIED IN MALAYSIA; THEY ONLY HAVE PLACES FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT WELL EDUCATED BUT WELL CONNECTED.

MALAYSIA IS NOT SHORT OF QUALIFIED PEOPLE; WE ARE ONLY SHORT OF QUALIFIED LEADERS IN A COUNTRY WHICH DOES NOT HAVE SYSTEMS THAT CAN ABSORB THEM INTO THE WORKFORCE.

THIS TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT WANTING TO DISCOVER RARE TALENTS AND THE BEST QUALIFIED IS NOTHING BUT A LOAD OF RUBBISH.

So this explains the type of ugly and smelly noises they are making, while the smarter ones continue to wonder how poorly appreciated they are.

The system stinks to high heaven when it has created this lot of people who are mostly unimpressive and without real class who also cannot go on to do their own things and outside of the country.

This also explains why the Malaysian intelligentsia is not intelligent and the political leaders, substandard and think tankers, stink.

However, if there is ten-year-old boy who shows some talent in badminton, surely the badminton association of Malaysia (BAM) will take him into their fold and give him whatever he needs so he can excel in the sport, even though this may not be certain.

On the other hand, there are many Malaysians who possess qualification from the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities in America and England, yet, they are not admired or supported.

Yet, at the same time some oxymorons want everybody to think they are able to create a new group of students who can get admission into any of the ten universities in fifteen years from now when they have long retired.

Where are they looking at?

So I dare say, they have got their priorities wrong.

They found the group of young kids so they could be given all the encouragement and facilities so that they can excel in their studies; while Mahyuddin is happy to announce the list of top twenty secondary schools in Malaysia.

Of course it is always interesting and thrilling to be able to deal with young kids who look with awe on those who are holding some sort of official positions, so no wonder those adults find the adulation stimulating.

No wonder they do not want to deal with the adults who have excelled in their studies because their presence can be intimidating since they are not dealing with kids that they want to be sometimes.

But what happens if they go for some reason, since they are where they are courtesy of the voters in the country? Will their pet projects be taken over by their successors? I doubt it.

Worse, will the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ projects create many qualified Malaysians in the future who can be entrusted with difficult tasks to handle? My suspicion is that some of them will falter along the way and become quite useless with academic achievements which are not so interesting to talk about.

The end results that they want are to be able to get as many of the school children to gain admission into the Ivy League and Oxbridge Universities in America and England.

If this is the case then they need not worry since we are already capable of doing that. In fact, we are also capable of getting thousands of students to get a string of A-s for their examinations at all levels. Yet, many of them are not able to get scholarships and even places in public universities in the country to pursue their tertiary education.

It is therefore ironic that this can still happen despite the two projects being introduced. It looks as though the present education system is not capable of educating the students so much so that there are not many who succeed.

Just look at some of the passions that the late Endon Mahmud, wife of the earlier Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi used to have when she was ‘first lady’ of the country, and look at what has happened to them?

They were her personal hobbies and interests, which were not shared by many. She was able to get a lot of attention and support for whatever that she was doing, yet, when she died, they were left for someone else to take charge of for which they are not able to do as much as Endon could.

Will the same happen with the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ projects initiated by Rosmah and Sharifah Habsah? These are very expensive projects supported fully by the government. Were they brought up in parliament for approval before the government gives special allocations to them?

I doubt it.

We are indeed not short of talented kids. Most of them were able to develop their potentials on their own and they are mostly those who are in the rural areas whose parents who are in the low income bracket, with many working as food stall operators and farmers.

None of them had been known to have come from families who are considered to be well off and from amongst the royalty and members of the cabinet and of parliament.

So in the end these two projects will only shame them, since they have everything and can provide for the children’s education wherever they want to study at, in the international schools in the country or abroad, yet, they are still not able to excel in their studies to become experts.

Most of them will go into business, taking up strategic posts where they are not required to think hard since they have many experts to do that for them. None will go into academia, since the jobs they can find are not well-paying one.

But what they have neglected to do is to give due recognition to those students who have already excelled in their studies by obtaining a string of A-s for their SRP, SPM and STPM. Yet, there are some who have also gone abroad to study at the prestigious universities.

They do not seem to care who they are and what expertise they have acquired. They had done that quietly without getting any encouragement or assistance from any government leader or agency. And they are conveniently neglected.

Therefore, all Malaysians must take what the three of them are doing with a grain of salt; that it is nothing but a cheap publicity stunt.

Human capital is something Malaysia is not short of. It is how it is utilized in a system which is too patronizing, where the top leaders can decide who is important and who isn’t to the development of the country.

In most cases, the human capital is only good for the development of the personal careers and image of the top leaders.

So they like to mix around with young kids or schools but not with the experts who know a lot of things more than they do.

The problem with people who are in authority and the government and especially the economists is that they do not think it is much better to create or introduce new industries in the country so that talents can be developed and students can be educated to meet with the demands and requirements of these industries.

They spend too much time trying to get more students to excel in their education and end up with a long string of A-s, which often-times do not mean anything, since they were not trained to acquire anything specific that is tailor-made to meet with the demands of these industries.

The film industry is one. It has not been allowed to grow further. It has stunted and it is nothing but to produce around twenty feature films just to meet the demands of the local film audiences who are mostly the Melayu.

There is no real attempt to expand it further so that those who are active in it can find ways to grow as they continue to produce many films which can end up in cinemas in some foreign countries.

As it is, Melayu films are only good for the local cinemas and for the Melayu; they are not able to be shown in other countries, except for Singapura and Brunei. But not in Indonesia where the political leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia do not find it fascinating to exchange their films for the mutual benefit of the audiences in both countries.

This is just one example. But what about the other industries that we already have and those that we haven’t have?

Monday, February 22, 2010

STUPID WAY TO FIND THE SMARTEST PERSONS IN MALAYSIA. – PART I.

…AND WHAT THEY COULD NOT DO WITH SUFIAH YUSOF WHEN SHE WAS AT OXFORD.
By Mansor Puteh


‘PERMATA PINTAR’ AND ‘PERMATA NEGARA’ ARE RIDICULOUS PROJECTS WHICH CAN NEVER DISCOVER RARE TALENTS FROM AMONGST MALAYSIANS. THEY CAN ONLY UNCOVER THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF SOME OF THEIR CREATORS.

THE CREATORS OF THESE PROGRAMS ARE DEFINITELY NOT OXBRIDGE BUT THE ‘OXYMORONS’ WHO CAN’T GET TO OXFORD, TRYING TO BE SMART WHO ONLY HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE SOME SMALL AND INSIGNIFICANT PROJECTS THAT THRILL AND DISTRACT THEM, BUT NOT A SYSTEM.

THESE ARE JUST EXPERIMENTS WHICH MAY NOT WORK BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THE STUDENTS.

In the first place they don’t know why do they want to get students to excel in their studies to get a string of A-s for their examinations and so they could study at the ten Ivy League and Oxbridge universities in America and England.

That’s explains why they have not said anything about these universities and what they can do with those who are now studying there with some others who have already graduated from such universities. They are dead silent on this.

Because they know they cannot mess around with such persons and can only do so with the young kids who are just past kindergarten so they can treat them like dolls or animals in the zoo.

This is what they can definitely do, which is to neglect those who had already studied at the prestigious universities in the world.

They admired Sufiah Yusof, a British, whose mother is Melayu and father, Pakistani…but had never really bothered with her to find out what she can do in Malaysia.

The least they could have done was to invite her to Malaysia, and then to ask what she needed and how she could be of use to the Melayu here and Muslims everywhere in the world, being a mathematic genius and a child prodigy, so she could find her roots and be given a tour of the country to meet as many people as possible so she can find interesting experiences that would allow here to feel at home and how she could study better so she could return and serve the country and her own people and religion here.

They only know how to praise here and her parents, but not how to use her intelligence properly.

They said they were happy for her for gaining admission into oxford at a young age. But what they did not say was what they could do with her and her rare talents.

They left her until she could not fit and left Oxford. They are still ignoring her because they still do not know what to do with her.

Yet, they now want to say, they are interested to discover rare talents amongst the kids in Malaysia and to develop those who have potentials.

They want many young Malaysian students to be like her, to be able to excel in their education and perhaps get into some of the most prestigious universities in the world. And then what?

So they created a plan to do this, by establishing special schools with special regimentation to ensure that those who are in the programs are able to excel in their studies and extra-curricular activities.

And the programs are called the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’.

They sound odd if literally translated into English as ‘Bright Sparks’ and ‘National Sparks or Sparklers’.

Yet, these are supposed to be programs to encourage the young schoolchildren to excel in their education so they can gain admission into the top league universities abroad.

But can’t it also be a cheap publicity stunt…to prove that the national leadership has stunted, can’t it?

They will definitely become another interesting place for wives of foreign dignitaries to visit, so they can look at how some privileged Malaysian students look and behave, like they are also visiting a zoo.

Whereas they are not ‘bright’ themselves.

It will also be most ironic if their own children are not accepted into the same programs because they are not smart and qualified.

They want to talk about developing human capital but their only way is to get cheap publicity for doing silly things.

How many university vice-chancellors and professors who have children who have excelled in their studies? How many members of the cabinet and politburos of the respective political parties have children who are smart? How many members of the Melayu royalty impressive university education?

Many of the smartest persons in the country are some of the poorest, and those who are the wealthiest are hardly highly qualified, with some who do not even have any formal education or who could speak in Melayu or English well.

So do the creators of the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ want those whom they want to push to high excellence to be neither this nor that? Who will take care of them when they grow older and have a string of university degrees?

Where can they go to?

If those who are qualified today cannot be sure of being absorbed into the workforce so that they can utilize what they had learnt about, what chances are there for those who would be in the same position of they are today, then?

And how many of the sports programs have actually created world class athletes and sportsmen? Those that we appeared out of the blue on their own accord?

In fact, those that were encouraged by the sports associations and other agencies did not fare well. The same will happen with the children in the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ projects, who will falter along the way.

They said they wanted to create top brains for the country to meet with its future expectations and development, so they could create more in the likes of Sufiah Yusof, the thirteen-year-old child prodigy who got admission into Oxford University.

In fact, if they are sincere, they can still utilize the academic achievements of Sufiah and give her a special position in any of the programs so she can become a good example of someone who had achieved academic excellence not in Malaysia but in England, where it matters more.

It is not too late. But can we expect the creators of the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ to be able to do something to Sufiah? I doubt it.

Malaysia is not short of qualified persons. What it is short of are leaders who know how to capitalize them and to find them, so that they are not left to their own devices and rot.

Many have. Some have decided to leave the country where they could not excel.

There is no special program for those who have already excelled in their studies. And this is where the ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ and those who back them look exceptionally stupid.

What could they do for her? They did not know what they could do with such a talent.

I thought the least that they could do was to give her a grant or scholarship to study at the university so when she graduated, she could be given an important and interesting post in the government think tank or some relevant ministry or agency.

This was not to be and we have seen how Sufiah was conveniently neglected until she got into some personal troubles on her own.

She became the talk of the town and of the Melayu leaders who were all proud of her academic achievements getting into Oxford at such a young age, and mostly for the fact that her mother is a Melayu woman from Malaysia. And for that she became a symbol of much pride to all Melayu and Malaysia. This is despite the fact that her father is a Pakistani and she is a British citizen.

Yet, none of the Melayu leaders were able to say much about what they were able to do with her, if she would be of any use to the Melayu, Islam and Malaysia.

None of them had tried to make contact with her to find out what she might be able to do upon graduation from Oxford or if her qualification and personal experiences could be put to good use in Malaysia.

Nothing. They were all proud of her achievement in getting into Oxford at such a young age of thirteen years.

The only thing that some Melayu groups were able to do for her was to try to ‘save’ her from her troubles. None was able to use her qualification for anything.

Maybe it’s still not too late; they can still find her and give her an offer she cannot refuse. But what sorts of offer that they can think of? What can they benefit from her talent? I doubt it if they know what to do with her now, if she could be their mascot at least!

They had tried to get her mother, Halimaton to help train young children so they could also excel in their studies. But so far nothing has come up of it.

They can’t even think of offering Sufiah the post of the director of ‘Permata Pintar’ and ‘Permata Negara’ to start with.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

MALAYSIA, INDONESIA AND ACEH ARE ACHING ALL OVER. – PART II.

…CREATING THE MELAYU CINEMA AND NEW ISLAMIC CINEMA CAN BRING THEM TOGETHER SO THERE’S NO NEED FOR SLOGANEERING.
By Mansor Puteh


ACEH IS STILL ACHING; IT IS ACHING BAD. NOT MANY CAN FEEL HOW MUCH IT HURTS THEM.

THE MELAYU IN MALAYSIA AND INDONESIA, TOO, HAVE BEEN ACHING FOR SO LONG.

AND THERE’S NOT GOING TO BE ANY RESPITE FROM THIS DISCOMFORT DESPITE THE EPG HAVING BEEN FORMED AND THE ELECTED POLITICAL LEADERS OF BOTH THE COUNTRIES HAVING SPOUTED MANY SLOGANS WHICH HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED BY THE MEDIA AND BROADCAST ON TELEVISION AND REPEATED BY THE LOWER-RANKING OFFICERS.

It’s all for nothing.

The members of the ‘Eminent Persons’ Group’ or EPG can never come to proposing the creation of the Melayu cinema and the New Islamic Cinema.

They are old. They are a group of people who have been looking elsewhere for too long. It’s too late for them to be enlisted by the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to do anything good for the ordinary folks in the two countries. They simply cannot be counted upon.

And since this group was formed when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister, this group has not done much while Aceh, Malaysia and Indonesia are still aching…

They have been aching and scratching for so long that there are now blisters all over them.

So if the governments of the two countries really want to see something happening, they should get rid of this group and engage another group that represents another generation of Malaysian and Indonesian intellectuals and other like-minded persons who are also involved in the arts who can propose better ideas that can be implemented so very easily and almost immediately without resorting to more sloganeering and flag-waving or promoting the positive image of the leaders of the two countries.

We have vast resources, but the people especially the Melayu are still aching.

The problem is that the Melayu World of Nusantara Melayu of Southeast Asia is only blessed with natural resources, but it not blessed with having intelligent leaders.

So most of the Melayu leaders are not so good; they are only good at making promises and getting short-term results. They are not good to create long-term effects that bring benefits to the Melayu so the race can be taken seriously, and become an interesting part of the world community. This is despite the fact that it is 300 million-strong.

I returned to Aceh for a second trip in November, 2009 after taking a return trip to England in 17 years.

It was not a long time to see how Aceh had changed after visiting it for the first time barely 13 months earlier, despite them having their first local elections and turning their own kind into office.

But it was long enough to see the new Tsunami Memorial building completed. But alas, it was just the building that was completed and that there is nothing in it for the public to see, other than to see the building itself, which was built at high costs, that should have been used for other meaningful purposes for nation building.

This time I deliberately chose not to take the land route from Dumai by bus to Medan and then get there as I had done it earlier. It was not because I was tired of taking the land route and getting cheated for most of the time.

I chose to fly on AirAsia from the LCCT in Sepang and arrived at Bandara Sultan Iskandar Shah in less than two hours. It was not a long flight so I opted not to have anything to eat on the flight. I could do it when I am in Aceh.

I landed at their new airport. I was told the old airport which sat near the new one is being used for domestic flights. The whole area was not affected by the Tsunami five years ago or it would have been more disastrous for them if flights from foreign countries could not land to deliver food and help.

It took about half an hour to get to Episentrum cultural center in Ulee Kareeng by road. And from there Fozan and his friend took me to Hotel Medan where I would stay for four days.

I thought it was a very convenient place for me to stay because it was right in the center of the city and just across the street from the food court where Fozan had taken me when I first got to this city on the first time.

The food court is no more like it was and the authorities had developed it. But this drew away the crowd who did not like the setup because it is congested.

I have returned to Aceh a few months after their first local elections. From what I can see not much has happened despite the new legislative setup and there are no new attempts to create better relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia and prospects of any new economic initiative does not look like it is happening. No new industries have emerged to expand those they already have.

And this is also not happening at the national levels, while the elected political leaders are looking elsewhere trying to create new slogans and the new opportunities to hug each other for the media while the people continue to suffer in silence feeling with the ache all over the body.

Most, if not all of them are old-hats, those who were in government and public service as well as in academia. They had had their day and are now retired from active service.

And the first local elections that were held in Aceh in April, last year, which saw many local leaders appointed to the state assembly have also not given their all and there are still bickerings.

Mostly, the Aceh wonder when will their country become independent from the Indonesian republic, so no wonder, they like to say they are from Nagoro Aceh Darussalam and not from Indonesia although they still have to carry Indonesian international passports.

Did any one of them ever tried to travel by land in the two countries when they were younger, to know the grounds? I doubt it.

I made the right decision by deciding to travel to Banda Aceh by land instead of by flying from Malaysia to there and took less than two hours as I found out on my return trip to Banda Aceh last November which somehow made the trip there to be uneventful and not dramatic.

I was surprised to find the bus driving up a hill which seemed steep and I was wondering how could Aceh be flooded in the Tsunami of 26 December, 2004, if that was the case?

The bus continued to drive a long way before it reached the top of the hill before it started to go down again and this was when I began to realize how low Aceh was, so it could be flooded by the great tide that came with the Tsunami.

I would soon find this out in the days when I toured the countryside at the places where the flooding was at its worse, and that they were all in a valley being surrounded by islands with tall hills that acted like a huge pond that trapped water so when the Tsunami happened the sea rose to almost the tips of the hills.

But landing at their spanking new international airport, the Bandara Sultan Iskandar Shah (International Airport) is interesting. And being greeted by a local dance group comprising only of young boys who seemed to be like they are in a trance.

Yes, the Indonesians have created a new word for ‘airport’ and call it ‘bandara’ the acronym for the words ‘bandar udara’. This is as opposed to ‘lapangan terbang’ which they used in the past which is quite long and it is still being used by Melayu in Malaysia and elsewhere.

Bandara is fine with me. And Malaysians have also accepted the word ‘parkir’ for ‘parking’ in exchange for the ‘tempat letak kereta’ which literally means ‘a place to park cars’.

They could very well be as the dance has a strong Islamic religious significance, as I found out. It is also how they ‘garland’ the foreign tourists who visit their country.

Yes, the people of Aceh consider themselves to be living in their own country, the Nogoro Aceh Darussalam, or Aceh the Abode of Peace, instead of it being in the Republic of Indonesia.

So no wonder, they always say they are from Aceh and not from Indonesia.

I went to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur and took the ferry to go to Dumai and from there I took the express buses and some local ones and got to Medan where I took another bus to get to Banda Aceh.

It was 14 hours by bus from Dumai to Medan and another 17 hours on the express bus to Banda Aceh.

The trip to Medan from Dumai could have been faster if those at the booth of the bus station had not cheated me. The woman gave me a ticket for a local bus which is small and crampy; it broke down and they had to replace a tire in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, there was what looks like a makeshift workshop operating past midnight which could fix the tire which had a hole.

And the mechanics, one of them a local Chinese had to do everything manually by pulling out the tire from the rim using a mechanical device that requires a lot of strength. I had not seen it in Malaysia such a long time.

I tried to enjoy it and managed to shoot some video footage along the way, despite the fact that I was cheated of basic creature comfort of being able to travel in a more comfortable express bus from Dumai to Medan, with air-conditioning.

But the television or video they were playing was very loud. If they had got enough watching video, they played music which was equally loud. How could people from a place like Aceh who are supposed to be more pious Melayu and Muslims want to fill up their spaces with noise this loud?

The bus drivers think they are doing everybody a service by playing video, switching on the television or playing music loudly. They think everybody enjoys doing that.

It is okay for only a while, but not for the whole stretch of the journey and especially if the speakers are hanging on your head and all round you and not on the head of the drivers, so they had to switch on the speakers loudly so they can hear the noise at a comfortable level to their ears, despite it being too loud for the passengers.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

MALAYSIA, INDONESIA AND ACEH ARE ACHING ALL OVER. – PART I.

…WHILE THE HAPLESS FOURTEEN IN THE SO-CALLED ‘EMINENT PERSONS’ GROUP’ (EPG) ARE HAVING A BALL. .
By Mansor Puteh


I guessed and was given the impression then that going to Aceh was like going to another world altogether. There was this fear and excitement that they had created in me. I felt quite confused by the conflicting information and images, but was nevertheless intrigued by it.

Aceh was like the neighboring Melayu village, yet it seemed so far away in another world of their own.

They are a people who want to be on their own and not be part of the Republic of Indonesia, unless of course it becomes an Islamic Republic, an idea which may be implausible now but which can become a reality in the near future as more and more Indonesians come to their senses and think more as Muslims than as people of differing racial backgrounds and origins.

And I can’t help but notice the change in the thinking and attitude of more and more Indonesian each time I visit the country.

In fact, they are generally more Islamic than the average Melayu in Malaysia. Yet, we are already the Islamic and Melayu Kingdom of Malaysia, while they are still a so-called ‘secular state’. In some parts, especially in Jakarta this may be true, but in the other areas, it looks like an Islamic Republic.

I was still intrigued by it because I had been to other regions in the world and liked what I had seen. And I was made known of Aceh since small. Many Melayu and Muslims in Malaysia are also as aware of it as I was.

For without the ancient Kingdom of Pasai in the present Aceh, the Melayu in Malaysia and the Melayu World of Nusantara Melayu of Southeast Asia would not be as what it is now. This is how intriguing it is.

For many Muslims, Aceh where Pasai was known in ancient times was the place where the Hindu prince called Parameswara who founded Melaka in 1400 CE had come to, where he reverted to Islam after marrying a local princess and taking the name of Megat Iskandar Shah, thus reshaping the entire Melayu World of Nusantara Melayu of Southeast Asia from being a Hindu region to a Muslim one till today.

The only area which had remained as it was is Bali. There are some vestiges of Hindu and Buddhist influences in the region the most notable of which is the Pura Borobudur and Pura Prambanan.

In Malaysia, they had to dig deep to discover remnants of ancient Hindu temples in the Bujang Valley.

Yet, interestingly, Islam came to this region not by fiery evangelists from Saudi Arabia or the Middle East, but by traders, who did not preach; they showed what Islam is to the others who were convinced that this was the religion for them. So if their ruler was convinced it was good for them, his people, too, embraced it willingly.

The only Melayu and Muslim country which had been forced out of Islam is the Philippines, except for the southern region of Mindanao where the Melayu are Muslims and where separation from the Catholic country has been going on for many decades.

Isn’t it a fact that because the Spanish invaders of the Philippines had failed to force the people of this region to leave their religion and also their race, to embrace Catholicism that they were never embolden to them, that this region can be said to have never been subjugated or colonized?

If this is the case, then the case for separation by the Melayu and Muslim in this region cannot happen as they have always maintained their independence even during the Spanish rule of the Philippines.

Parameswara (means Prince Consort) was an exile prince from Hindu Srivijaya Kingdom of Palembang in Sumatera whose ancestors had come from India, was said to be a direct descendant of Iskandar Zulkarnain or Alexander the Great.

So now it also appears that some of the Melayu royalties of the sultanates of Perak and Pahang are also said to be the descendants of Alexander the Great because they are all descendants of Parameswara, too.

I admit that I missed going to the city then so that I could see the differences between the same city today and when it was then before the Tsunami of 26 December, 2005 so I could record the city before the Tsunami and after that. Going there during the Tsunami was not a good option at all, because of the confusion. They did not need another person to add to all that.

So I had actually wanted to go to Aceh much earlier before the Tsunami of 26 December, 2005 when the province was still under Indonesian military rule, but because I was not comfortable with the situation I gave it a miss when I was Medan few times during that time.

I finally made it there in August, 2008. I could not tell how much destruction the city suffered and especially the valley where the Tsunami had destroyed thousands of buildings and killed hundreds of thousands of people of Aceh, some of whom include my close relatives who had gone to live there after he got married to a local woman. He has not been heard of since.

I didn’t realize the trip in the bus from Medan to Banda Aceh would be very long as I would later find out – fourteen hours. I thought it lasted for eight hours with the bus leaving Medan around midnight and arriving there later next morning.

I made the first trip at the invitation by a local cultural group to show some of my early television dramas and also to talk about the need to introduce and create Sinema Nusantara and Sinema Islam or the Melayu Cinema and the Islamic Cinema.

And in my second trip there in November, 2009, I was invited to talk about the same matter on a local television radio talk show program and also to the students at the Universitas Syiah Kuala or Unsyiah.

Many unnecessary controversies had erupted since the Eminent Persons’ Group or EPG was formed. They were formed by the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to promote greater understanding between the two countries.

And the fourteen are still sitting on their behinds and not knowing what else that they can do other than to meet in fancy hotels in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, is talking in vague terms.

Their silence on the matter, even after two years the group was formed only spelled trouble; that they may not know where to start and how to use the EPG to device a new setup to create better understandings between the peoples of the two countries.

However, basically, it is between the Melayu in both the countries as the non-Melayu are almost irrelevant in the equation since recent disputes only involved them and not the others, despite some disputes had erupted in Indonesia involving the Chinese in Jakarta and few other cities in Jawa. But the situation has been contained somewhat.

But this still does not mean that disputes and controversies involving the Indonesian Chinese cannot happen again in the future.

But for now, the issues only involve the Melayu in both countries.

I doubt that none of the fourteen members had traveled around Indonesia and Malaysia by land on their own to sample life at the very bottom of the pit, to know how the grounds shake. This is their greatest disadvantage with the other being that they are all too old to undertake the task. They speak in a totally different language.

And so far they have not created subcommittees and get other groups of like-minded Malaysians and Indonesians to come and sit and offer views from their own perspectives.

And this is where the EPG has failed. They are totally relying on themselves to come up with ideas on how to promote greater understanding between the Melayu in Malaysia and Indonesia.

So they still prefer to sit in their offices and meet in fancy hotels and travel first class and issuing statements to the media which readily embrace them to their delight.

Any Malaysian and Indonesian Melayu can ask what has the EPG been doing? What can they convince the governments of the two countries to do if they have not studied the thinking of the people in the ground some of whom had caused the two countries to shake lately?

And from the land trip I had made to Banda Aceh all the way to Bali, I can tell that the EPG won’t be able to do much. If they could do anything, they would have said so publicly so we can evaluate their thinking.

There’s aching all over in Aceh, Malaysia and Indonesia, yet, they having a ball and aloof to their feelings and pains. Formation of the EPG did not even become balm to the psychological spasms the Melayu in the two countries have been having for decades, if not centuries.

So the discourses have not taken into account the historical perspectives, as well as the social, cultural, linguistic, religious as well as psychological ones, which are important to create new ideas that work to consolidate the possible tensions that might erupt in the future.

So basically what is wrong with Malaysia and Indonesia or with their leaders is that they are too focused on the political and economic nature of nation-building and cooperation between them.

They are happy if their elected political leaders me where they get massive coverage in the local media in their respective countries. They hug each other and their wives kissed each other’s cheeks, and they claim everything is right with Malaysia and Indonesia and with Malaysians and Indonesians.

They are not.

What is important is that the daily activities of the average Malaysians and Indonesians, or more specifically the Melayu in the two countries are interacting in the right way, everyday, and in all forms and at all levels, so that they can create a conducive environment for greater understanding, failing which the political leaders of the two countries have to return to the same, old and tired ways of silly diplomacy by using slogans that they think and believe can soothe the anxieties of the warring factions.

Malaysian and Indonesian leaders have plenty of slogans. They are good at sloganeering. But they are not so good with promoting goodwill between our two countries and amongst the Melayu herein.

Worse, they don’t even know how to use the cinema, television and media as well as music to create a new environment that is conducive to promote goodwill and greater understanding between the Melayu in the two countries on an everyday basis.

They are stuck with slogans and state and official visits between the elected leaders of the two countries and issuing official statements that they think can create wonders. They can only make the headlines of the papers and are screamed on prime-time television of the two countries without affecting the daily lives of the people.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

UTUSAN MALAYSIA SHOULD BE DECLARED A NATIONAL HERITAGE. – PART III.

…BAN NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES THAT ACT AS AGENTS OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND INTERESTS, AND ARREST THE PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS AND CHARGE THEM FOR ESPIONAGE.
By Mansor Puteh


(NOTE: This is the final segment of this essay and the lengthiest of the three.)

WITHOUT A NEW MALAYSIAN JOURNALISM, THERE CAN NEVER BE A NEW MALAYSIA.

1MALAYSIA REQUIRES A 1MALAYSIAN JOURNALISM TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: OTHERWISE, IT IS NOTHING BUT AN EMPTY SLOGAN CREATED FOR PURE ENTERTAINMENT AND A NEW THEME FOR VIDEO CLIPS AND SONGS.

WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING IS SO BLATANT; YET, NO ONE SEEMS TO HAVE NOTICED IT.

Just look at the damage they had done to the country and the society. Shouldn’t the papers be banned and their editors arrested for engaging in espionage so openly?

Unlike spies and other secret operatives of foreign countries in Malaysia, these publications are even worse – they publish bad news and information for Malaysians. It is done with the intention to destabilize the country and confuse the people on an everyday basis.

It is therefore ironic how many of them had been awarded the honorific titles of Datuk. How horrific!

To a lot of extent they have indeed succeeded. But will the government continue to allow them to create worse situations?

If not for the existence of Utusan, the situation in Malaysia could be worse today which plays the role to stabilize the country, a role which cannot be taken for granted by the government and everybody in the country.

What can the ministry of home affairs or the Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) do to reshape Malaysian journalism and the thinking of its citizens and erasing racial lines that divide them?

Haven’t they seen how some newspapers have been doing the bidding for other countries all this while to realize that the problems faced by the government and country are all attributed to their editorial policies?

Don’t they know that the non-Melayu publishers and editors and many of their writers suffer from a siege mentality and who act in defiance of local values?

Theirs is a psychology and mission that had been uncalculated from the limited interaction with the Melayu majority and the vernacular Mandarin and Tamil education that they had had early in their lives although this was not described to them by their teachers in words or deeds.

It is therefore now very difficult to change or be reshaped to make them more realistic despite the many slogans that had been created by the government.

The parliamentarians, social, cultural, linguistic, religious and other pseudo-politicians are blind not to see it as a problem that has caused the country to be turned upside down; they are only interested in petty issues.

KDN must impose stringent rules and regulations on what the papers can publish, and those related to foreign cultures, the cinema, television and music must be restricted while the Melayu and other local ones highlighted.

Only in this way can the government and country create new Malaysian journalism that does Malaysia a service instead of those foreign countries.

1Malaysia can only be created with Malaysia journalism. The present old Malaysian journalism is bad for the new Malaysia.

Most of the social, cultural, linguistic, economic as well as political problems faced by Malaysia today are due to the Old Malaysian Journalism which gives too much attention to the needs and demands of the minority instead of the majority.

So no wonder the rural areas in Peninsula and East Malaysia are severely neglected, as the attention and focus for economic development seems to concentrate on the Kelang Valley and other urban centers.

And so no wonder too, more and more Melayu ancestral lands had to give way to the expansion of the cities and urban centers.

This forced the Melayu to be further displaced and their cultural and religious characters changed, with the Indians being forced out of their rubber estates with no where to go to.

Too much emphasis has been given to the cities and towns and other urban centers which are all due to the attention given by the media which is dominated and controlled by the minority groups.

In this regard, one can say that blogging in Malaysia is no different. It is still dominated by so few people who are so loud and brash who are always capable of turning a morsel into a meal.

So still want to know which is the most Malaysian newspaper? And which is the most un-Malaysian newspaper?

Chauvinisms are being promoted in subtle ways, when they over-promote Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, India and America almost everyday.

Which papers over-promote and over-publicize Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, India and America? Haven’t you guessed which the ones are? They are the vernacular Mandarin and Tamil newspapers and the English language papers.

They have awards for the best writers given by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), but they do not have the worse paper which does not do a service to the country but to the others as mentioned a while ago. If the MPI does that, surely the editors and writers of these papers would have won the awards.

Some like-minded Malaysians should create a new award to give those who use their papers for the service of foreign countries, so they know this is how low Malaysian journalism has become. So the home ministry knows who they can give the KDN permits to, and so we can have a New Malaysian Journalism that serves the country more than the others.

Maybe what some suspect may be true in that some of the papers may be secretly funded and owned by foreign concerns so that the interests of their countries can be maintained, so that their film and television programs as well as music can continue to be imported into the country, and so that the presence of Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and India can be felt.

This is what Malaysian journalism has come to, that the papers which are controlled by different groups of people from the different racial backgrounds are using their organ to propaganda their personal ideology.

They hope no one in the country can expose this.

Is it something that they did not want to know of? If it is, then they have succeeded up to this far.

It is no fault of their that they have to do it that way, that the Chinese-controlled Chinese or Mandarin papers are too Chinese with Hong Kong, Taiwan and China thrown in.

It’s the same with the Tamil papers which seem to over-promote India. One fact which is striking is how an Indian-Muslim editor-in-chief of one of the Tamil daily could also do it. It’s probably due to the readership of his paper who is mostly Indians with many of them who are from Indian and working in the many food stalls in the country; they want to keep in touch with their country.

But one cannot believe how the English language dailies and weeklies can also have similar sentiments and approaches, with the Star heading the list.

There will be some people – the smarter ones who will want to say that this paper is more like an unofficial organ of Hong Kong and the other Chinese countries, including America.

The Malays that are reported and shown in this paper are too few. At times there are days when there is no Malay who is good enough for this paper to write on.

Most of the time, however, the Malays they prefer to report are those who are involved in crimes.

And no doubt that they have some Melayu working for them as sub-editors or editors and journalists, but they often have to go along with the flow.

No wonder, too, their columnists who are Melayu have to write like them on issues affecting the Melayu and Islam; or else they would not have been offered the columns in the first place.

Many people guess why Marina Mahathir was offered her column which was to ensure that it was not banned again.

As for the column held by IKIM it is just to show that they are also interested to offer their readers some views on Islam written by such a respectable authority on the religion.

And what about the Sun?

Their columnists who are Melayu know they have to write what is palatable to their editors. It’s as simple as that.

In the end the papers in Malaysia only manage to look at the country called Malaysia from the points of view of the races of the respective owners and editors.

Is it not sad that such a situation has to happen? It is not. It is a fact of life in Malaysia where racial backgrounds and sentiments are often exposed indirectly by what the editors and journalists publish.

So if a Chinese or Indian journalist were to write on a city, he will not forget to write and shot photos of his respective temples, and no masjid.

The vernacular Mandarin and Tamil papers are even worse than the English tabloids; they do not cover activities of the Melayu. So there is no write-up or review of Melayu films. They also do not care for the cultural activities of the Melayu and only write on the Melayu who are in politics, simply because they do not have much of a choice.

These papers mostly cover events, incidents and even gossips from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan or India and America like they are doing these countries a service for promoting them to their Chinese and Indian readers in Malaysia.

And what is the ministry of home affairs or ‘kementerian dalam negeri’ (KDN) doing about this? And what are the so-called think tankers doing about it to? Nothing.

The whole thing escapes them. They do not realize how the papers which over-promote foreign countries are indirectly saying that Malaysia and Malaysians are not important.

Worse, the vernacular papers do not care to expose their readers to what the Melayu are doing.

And the English language papers and magazines cover too much on activities in America. So they are basically fake or pseudo-American publications.

How sad, and how pathetic.

The Malaysian Press Institute and National Union of Journalists (NUJ) do not seem to care with what has happened to Malaysian journalism, in that it is serving not Malaysia but the other countries more.

By right the KDN which issues the publishing permits every year for the papers to get before they can publish their papers, must ensure that these permits are to be used for the betterment of Malaysia and Malaysians and not of the other countries.

These papers and their editors are probably under the secret payroll of some foreign agents, for all we care, if they care too much for their well-being.

Its time that the KDN does something about this problem. It is not a small one, but a major problem which has resulted in the country and its society being turned upside down and unusual social, cultural, religious and even political problems had been created because of that.

Which is the most Malaysian newspaper? Which is the most nationalistic newspaper in Malaysia that serves the country more than the other countries?

Based on past records it must be Utusan followed by Berita. And the fact that these papers are nationalist papers which had been in existence before Merdeka whose editorials had supported Merdeka, make them to be far different that the other papers.

One cannot say that the English language papers then, the Straits Times and the Malay Mail to be nationalistic considering that their editors were mostly expatriates.

It took a long while before the posts were handed to the locals who turned their editorial policies around but not by very much since they are still very much the same – with the English language papers over-promoting America.

These local English language papers have special columns to promote Hollywood and American gossips which are not published in the regular newspapers or magazines in America but in the entertainment tabloids or supermarket tabloids.

They have to be different than the other Melayu papers and they do it by over-promoting foreign cultures and countries without being subtle about it.

But not surprisingly the countries they are unofficially representing and over-promoting do not care. None of their editors or writers has been acknowledged by America, the other countries in the west, including Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and also India.

Are the editors not ashamed that they have not been given any recognition by those countries despite them acting on their behalf for so many decades?

In Malaysia, such petty gossips often get to the front-page of the local English language papers. Even the Melayu papers now have to do it because they are now competing on which paper is worse instead of one which is better than the other.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

UTUSAN MALAYSIA SHOULD BE DECLARED A NATIONAL HERITAGE. – PART II.

… IF IT IS THE MOST MALAYSIAN NEWSPAPER, WHICH THEN IS THE MOST ALIEN MALAYSIAN NEWSPAPER BY MOST ACCOUNTS?
By Mansor Puteh


THE ANSWER IS THE STAR.

The Star is the most alien, foreign and un-Malaysian newspaper that serves Hong Kong and America more. The Melayu are portrayed in the various sections in such a cursory fashion so that they look alien even in their own country. The Sun is no better.

This paper, like the many other English language papers and magazines tend to over-emphasize foreign stories and characters and incidents, many of which are inconsequential and unnecessary distractions.

The problem with the Star is that they have too many advertisements to print, so they have to provide with the space for them and in doing so they have to also publish stories and articles or photos, and most of them are those that are sourced from foreign news agencies. They look elsewhere to publish news and how to create them.

The Melayu seem to be missing in the Star, as much as in the Sun who are controlled by the non-Melayu. They are as good as non-existent. And their columnists too are mostly non-Melayu so their views are too stereotyped.

Their reactions on social, cultural, linguistic and artistic issues are too predictable as well as banal. They sound like they were all written by the same person. Yet, none of them has ever been given due recognition as important and interesting speakers abroad, where it seems to matter more than speaking here.

Those few Melayu columnists and other writers they like to engage often have to follow their editorial policies, even if they claim to practice the freedom of the press and of free speech, etc.

So an essay like this can never be found in the three English language papers because it shows a mirror into the faces of their editors.

And this has also indirectly created some of the more prominent and vocal Melayu individuals and organizations to do the bidding for them, or else they would not be entertained by these papers.

They are Marina Mahathir and Sisters of Islam (SIS), whose views on many things concerning Islam and the Melayu can never be accepted by the Melayu papers.

Were they ‘created’ by the Star, and also the other English language papers since no Melayu paper would want to publish their thoughts and ideas?

In fact, one can even jokingly say that they were all ‘created’ by these two papers that seem to like to ‘encourage’ them to write their personal views and opinions which are of a certain type and style.

Want to look at this matter in a different way? Try and ask Marina and SIS if they can exist if not for the support from these two papers?

The only platforms that they would have are the public forums that are sometimes held at the Selangor Assembly Hall and the Bar Council auditorium and such places where discordant views are often expressed.

Now they can utilize their blogs to express their views on anything. But the truth is without the English language papers, they are almost non-existent.

In fact, the vernacular Mandarin and Tamil newspapers are also worse. They look like they are published in Hong Kong and Chennai.

An analysis of the newspapers in Malaysia has never been done before. One has to be done, and now is the right time to do it so we know what they are and who they serve and see if they deserve to be given the KDN publishing permit by the ministry of home affairs or ‘kementerian dalam negeri’ (KDN).

Can’t we see how some of the papers are secretly promoting Chinese and Indian chauvinism in the most subtle ways and expose it?

I’m afraid they have failed.

What they have succeeded in only publishing stories and articles which do not seem to influence and shape the thinking of their own readers and the general public especially from amongst the Chinese and Indians who know better.

Just how many of the Chinese and Indian youths who now do not have a fascination of their own cultures? Just go to the next Chinese opera held during their Hungry Ghost festival and you will find yourself sitting alone to watch it, as what I had found out on a few occasions.

In fact I had written some articles on those operas, and was even criticized by some Chinese readers who said they were not popular with the Chinese anymore.

It’s a fact that the vernacular mandarin and Tamil newspapers do not seem to care for the other races. What have they done to promote racial unity? They are basically papers that look like they are organs of foreign countries – Hong Kong and India.

Whereas Utusan and Berita Harian look at Malaysia from the point of view of the Melayu and Malaysia.



In fact, Utusan should be declared a ‘national heritage for what they had done to the country in the past.

What are the Melayu without Utusan which promotes the Islamic, Melayu and Malaysian agenda like no other paper does?

For trying to do this, they are charged for a host of things by their adversaries, especially the vernacular papers especially if they trust the mirror in front of the others to show who they are in relation to the history of the country.

Isn’t the history of the country already defined? Does it need to be redefined and rewritten and distorted?

The star and the sun, on the other hand, look at Malaysia from the point of view of the Chinese while the new straits (NST) tries to be fair to all the races and fail to do so because of their bias for foreign news.

The NST is basically a business and sports paper with a small news section.

The English and vernacular papers mostly publish foreign stories and have non-Melayu bias. No wonder the NST does not report activities by Melayu literary and creative groups as a habit.


In fact, the country and especially the Melayu would not be what they are today without Utusan and also Berita who played a vital role in ensuring that there is stability in all areas.

This often made them to be the center of snide attacks by those from the other races, who like to play the ‘race cards’ all the time.

No doubt that stating what is obviously enshrined in the Constitution can often-times create a lot of uncertainties and anxieties especially to those who are living in a state of denial.

Even talking about some of the more salient aspects of the Constitution can cause many to constipate.

What I find to be interesting is how Utusan, especially, rise up to the occasion to constantly remind the public of what that have been spelled in it, so that everybody knows. Many do. But there are some who are confused and refuse to acknowledge the sanctity of the document and what it aimed to do to the country and everybody who are its citizens.

So we can still and expect to get more howling and squealing on Utusan, every now and then. And their writers and editors still dare to remain stoic and not curl to surrender to the many suits that had been instituted against them, because they know they are not doing anything wrong or hurting anyone.

Those who are hurt should not hold any public office in the first place and operate their own private companies instead because one must have ‘thick skin’ to hold such offices.

Yet, this accolade will not sit well with some for obvious reasons, although Utusan may not be able to get such a recognition in the near future. But at least the public and country ought to know what they had done for the country and especially for the Melayu.

What many Melayu can ask is: What are the Melayu and Malaysia today without Utusan?

I was lucky to be able to work as a reporter with Utusan Melayu in the late 1970s so I got to know this news organization a bit more than the average Melayu and Malaysia.

Its headquarters are still at Jalan Lima, off Jalan Chan Sow Lin and its main building which holds the editorial department has been preserved by the management, as is its original signage which was the same as it was when I was working there.

I hope that this building can be recognized as a Malaysian heritage building by the government soon because Utusan deserves it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

UTUSAN MALAYSIA SHOULD BE DECLARED A NATIONAL HERITAGE. -- PART I.

…IT’S THE MOST MALAYSIAN AND MOST NATIONALISTIC NEWSPAPER OF THE COUNTRY THAT REFLECTS THE VIEWS, ASPIRATIONS AS WELL AS CONCERNS OF MALAYSIA AND THE VAST MAJORITY WHO ARE MELAYU AND MUSLIMS.
By Mansor Puteh


UTUSAN CAN NEVER BE FAULTED FOR DOING WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING ALL THESE YEARS, WHICH IS TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSITUTION AND THE SPECIAL RIGHTS OF ISLAM, THE MELAYU AND THE SULTANATES IN THE COUNTRY.

THIS IS NECESSARY SINCE THERE ARE STILL SOME WHO IGNORE THIS AND WANT TO BELITTLE IT TOO.

THEY DO IT LIKE NO OTHER PAPER DOES. AND FOR THAT THEY HAVE BECOME A TARGET OF SCORN FROM THOSE WHO DID NOT WANT TO REALIZE WHERE THEY ARE AND WHO THEY ARE.

In America, because the media is dominated and controlled by the minority, the whole country has been turned upside down, since the views and concerns and the interests of the majority are not being written about or heard.

America therefore exists only to protect this special minority, while the majority and the other minorities who are in larger sizes are neglected.

And in Malaysia, the situation is not much different, since the minorities are also dominating the media so there is topsy-turvy and many unnecessary discourses and controversies.

The situation is made even worse by the bloggers who seem to think they are above the law for to them blogging is everything; they don’t care for general elections, the democratic process and the mandate.

But the buck stops with Utusan. This is why Utusan becomes their convenient punching bag for many including those who claim to be democratic. They are not democratic; they are just confused and who believe in anarchy.

So it is not an irony that the other papers which are controlled by the minority groups seem to have a lot of gripe against Utusan for being entrusted with this special role of educators and especially of the voice of the Melayu, majority race in the country.

And regardless of what these papers and the bloggers of their communities say, their views are those of the minority. In any democracy, the views of the majority reign supreme.

In fact, Utusan was formed for such a purpose and for no other so that the views and concerns of the majority are trusted and made known.

While the other papers were formed mostly to act contrapuntal to it, to contradict what they say most of the time, so that their own agendas are promoted in this way, with their editorial policies mostly acting against those of Utusan and the majority.

What the other papers and their readers should do is to appreciate what Utusan is doing and accept the truth and change accordingly, and not to belittle it since their unnecessary act of defiance and self-denial won’t endear them to the majority.

So when one of its columnists, Zaini Hassan wrote something for which he received some brickbats from, it didn’t mean anything since they came from the unknown writers in blogsphere who are so few in numbers compared to the many Melayu and other non-Melayu who agreed with what he had written.

Worse, when those papers always try to promote un-Malaysian social, cultural as well as political cultures into the thinking of their readers, by over-emphasizing Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, India and American or western cultures.

This is done by also neglecting to publish stories on the Melayu adequately, so much so most of the papers look as though they were funded by foreign agents.

In this aspect, Utusan could also do away with those foreign reports and not compete with the other papers just to attract the attention of their unique readers, who can be served by Utusan carrying more stories from the Melayu World and Islamic World, which are abundant with them.

Utusan knows that their place in the country is special; they represent the majority who are Melayu and Muslims. So they can never be charged for things that the other papers which represent only the views of the minority and the some individuals of those groups had against them.

So it is not easy to be a Melayu newspaper that tries to represent the majority views in the country, as there are loud and shrill minority voices that have their minority report organs to do their bidding for them who only aim to challenge the constitution while Utusan aims to uphold its principles.

This is the main difference between Utusan and the other papers, especially the vernacular mandarin and Tamil ones in that it always reflects the thinking and interests of the majority, while the other papers only reflect the concerns of the minority in the country.

Therefore, this puts Utusan ahead of the other papers and what they say mean a lot more to the country than what the other papers say since they only reflect their personal views and those of the minority groups they represent.

WHAT ARE THE MELAYU AND MALAYSIA TODAY WITHOUT UTUSAN MALAYSIA AND UTUSAN MELAYU?

And many Melayu men and women have been given due recognition for their fight for Independence or Merdeka, with roads also named after them. Some of them were lesser and relatively unknown heroes.

Yet, Utusan has never been given due recognition for its role in fomenting the spirit of Merdeka amongst the Melayu intelligentsia and ordinary ‘rakyat’.

Maybe it is not too late for the government to do this and declare the editorial office of Utusan in Jalan Lima, off Jalan Chan Sow Lin a national heritage building.

Till today, this paper has been playing a pivotal role to ensure that the Constitution and whatever that contains inside of it are given due respect, while the other papers continued to become commercial entities whose only role it seems is to make profit.

Has a documentary on Utusan Melayu and Utusan Malaysia been produced for everybody to see?

And not surprisingly, for doing this, some of the editors and journalists of this paper had been slammed. Yet, not surprisingly, too, Utusan’s staff has not balked and take whatever that comes their way like true heroes who dare to confront those who only wish to belittle their efforts and also the Constitution.

Not many people will want to see it this way though, because they mostly fear the exhortations of Melayu rights and the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution because they feel a tinge of guilt each time when this happens especially when they tend to have their own funny versions of some of the clauses in it.

But the truth is that Utusan is the most Malaysian of all the newspapers in the country, anyway you look at it. Only that they do not seem to realize this yet.

They have been playing an important role in shaping the thinking of the majority of people and country like no other newspaper has ever done before, instead of those that pander to the minorities only. They have kept the Melayu involved in the politics of the country and the non-Melayu their part in it.

The function and role of Utusan will further increase with the increase of the population of the Melayu in the country in the near future so much so that this country can have a more pronounced Melayu and Islamic presence in all areas.

And for doing just this, they often get slammed from some people who could stand how this paper is willing to suffer indignities just for trying to defend the constitution, Islam, Melayu rights and the sultanates.

Utusan writes to reflect the aspirations and needs of the majority – the Melayu. The other papers, especially the English language and vernacular Mandarin and Tamil ones do not have such an aspiration at all.

So their slogan, ‘Penyebar Fikiran Rakyat’ is true, as it reflects the aspirations of the majority, who are Melayu. Whereas the English language and vernacular Mandarin and Tamil newspapers only reflect the aspirations of the minority. So they are the ‘minority report’ which does not reflect the true situation of the country.

They should change their slogan to, ‘Akhbar yang berani mempertahankan Perlembagaan’ or ‘The paper that dares to defend the Constitution.’

There is no county in the world where the views and aspirations of the minority communities are being trusted in such a fashion as in Malaysia. The reason why this came about is that the other media is dominated by the minority, with ‘the other media’ being the English language and vernacular Mandarin and Tamil newspapers.

Worse, when the English language papers concentrate on the demands and needs of the urban, who are at the moment Chinese, but in time it will be Melayu, too, with the change in demography in the country as it is also showing now.

In fact, one of the early Mandarin papers published in the 1960s, whose headquarters then were in Singapura had this slogan, ‘The guardian of the overseas Chinese’.

I’m afraid this is still what the Mandarin papers are doing, even though they do not dare have such a slogan, because almost everything that they publish is on Hong Kong and China.

Unfortunately, the present generation of Chinese does not seem too fascinated with both of the countries, and I have actually met some of them who did not care for Hong Kong and China and refuse to visit them.

On the other hand, I had found myself visiting China together with a group of Chinese-Malaysians who also felt like strangers in this country.

It’s just the Chinese opinion leaders and their community as well as political leaders who are intent on keeping the Chinese in Malaysia not to lose contact with the country of their ancestors.

In fact, of all the early journalists and editors who have become recognized as champions of independence, all of them were from Utusan and Berita such as A Rahim Kajai and A Samad Ismail. Other nationalists include Zainuddin Maidin (Zam), Mazlan Nordin and A Samad Said and the others.

None of them were from the other papers.