Intellectual bankruptcy of the feudal kind

Harakahdaily | .

Against the backdrop of the rising ethnic temperature following a Cabinet minister’s outburst in social media calling for a boycott of Chinese businesses, a whole horde of people have come forward to support the highly incendiary statement some in very crude fashion while others in more sophisticated ways.

What irks us is that there are some among the upper echelons of Malay society who despite their “credentials” as the erudite, learned and probably “moderate” elements in society can also join the racial bandwagon.

We are referring to comments made by one professor on the Professors’ Council who happens to be the secretary of the Political, Security and International Cluster of the Council, who while seemingly saying that the minister was right in defending consumers’ rights, also takes on a racial bias in commenting on the issue to the extent one couldn’t be faulted if one were to liken him to a clone of the extremist groups lurking out there in society.

In one of his comments as reported by a Malay daily (apparently not associated with Umno) he claims that since a long time ago Malays did not contest, protest (pertikai) anything or any action and this attitude made the race an oppressed one.

He stresses that the Malays do not speak out, seldom say anything bad about their own race, more so against other races. They accept whatever condemnation against them and reply criticism with just a smile.  The Malays are full of adab (ethics) because Islam emphasises good values in one’s self. Hence due to such a character, this race is oppressed”. So, Islam is the culprit?

Astonishing to say the least. So not only is he indirectly asking the Malays to discard good ethical values, which to his logic is responsible for their “downtrodden” state, he finds it convenient to scapegoat the religion of Islam in the process.

So, if going by his logic, Islam is responsible for them being oppressed through the ideals of good morals and ethical behaviour amongst which is the manner in which one communicates with others even from a different race or religion by not raising their voices, or by giving way to the non-Malay, non-Muslim, is he then asking them to abandon these values? Or is he simply not aware of what Islam stands for in respect of these “values”?

The problem with these so called intellectuals is that they stop reading once they reach a certain point in their lives perhaps being content with the status or position that they have achieved. Hence the very flimsy arguments given to support a certain stand that they take.

On the question of the Malay attitude “to take all things lying down”, definitely this is not a value emanating from Islam. In fact Islam tells its followers to be bold enough to speak out against all forms of injustices as well recorded in a famous tradition of the Holy Prophet which says that ‘the highest of jihad is telling the truth in front of an oppressive ruler”.

Unfortunately, this professor does not seem to realise or is it just plain convenience to sidestep this fact – that is, it is the feudal mentality that has caused Malays to be left behind in every area of life. By feudal we mean, the unquestioning loyalty accorded to leaders despite knowing that these leaders are most corrupt, of low morals etc. Where in Islam, may we ask the learned professor, does it say that loyalty to a leader is an absolute value? But all along especially in modern Malaysia under Umno that is what Umno has been imbibing amongst the Malays. Those against Umno are seen as traitors.

It is unfortunate indeed that this type of “intelligentsia” too cannot see or would not want to see where the rot stems from. Not speaking out against injustice – even if it means against traders who unjustly raise their prices – has nothing to do with Islam, it is simply a product of generations of feudal values imbibed into the soul of the Malay (though some Malays have broken free of it but are seen as the derhaka (traitorous) group just because they do not support Umno).

It is these feudal values that actually have caused the Malays to be downtrodden and it is Islam that has somewhat liberated some segments of the Malays to put them back on their path to glory.

So much for this “professors’ council”!

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