Racism and Racial Discrimination in Malaysia

KUA KIA SOONG is a Malaysian social activist, researcher and former member of parliament for Petaling Jaya. He is a director of the human-rights organisation SUARAM.

SUARAM (Second Edition, 2020)
330 pages including Bibliography and Index

RM40.00

Only 1 left in stock

If you purchase this book you will earn 8 reward points!
ISBN: 9789671426388 Product ID: 31457 Subjects: , Sub-subjects: , ,

Racism and Racial Discrimination in Malaysia highlighting the structural conditions that enable the crude manipulation of race to serve the economic interests of the ruling class under the Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and now Perikatan Nasional administrations. The chapters on the Emergency contain declassified documents from the British Public Records Office, which were made available after the 30-year secrecy rule was lifted. The author offers alternatives that are needs-based and thus race-free by doing away with such discriminatory policies, rent-seeking activities and patronage politics.

This book is about the politics of race and class in Malaysia. It seeks to highlight the mechanisms of oppression that maintain the conditions responsible for this crude manipulation of race by the state. The state explicitly uses racism as an ideological tool to retain the loyalty of a whole “Bumiputera” community. Race in Malaysia, has thus become a visible determinant of material force and fact. It is this evidence of racism that cuts across class and which has confounded crude “class theorists” who refuse to see the relevance of race in their analysis. Ever since the incursion of British colonialism and the linkage of the local economy to the global economy, political domination by the dominant class has been consistently maintained through racism and racial discrimination. “Communalism” is the term often used to refer to the division of the masses along “racial” lines in order to prevent them from acting as a unified political force.

The author traces the specific historical development of the Malaysian state from Independence, noting how its authoritarian and populist strands have been woven into a coherent ideology perpetuated until the present day, by the ruling Barisan Nasional and now the Pakatan Harapan coalition. The Malaysian state continues to use its formidable repressive apparatus through its control of the military and the police and its use of detention without trial as well as catch-all laws such as the Sedition Act. While the Internal Security Act was, from Independence, the favoured method of dealing with Opposition leaders and dissidents, detention without trial now continues in a different form.

The form of this domination has been organised, on the one hand around the denial of civil rights to the minority nationals—the Chinese, Indians and other “non-Bumiputeras”—and on the other, around the mobilization of the majority Malays and other “Bumiputeras” behind the demand for correcting the “racial imbalance” of the economy. Such a demand, of course, obscures the relations of class exploitation by portraying economic inequalities as the product of unequal distribution among the various ethnic groups. Thus, the Malaysian economy is still described as one that is “dominated by the Chinese” in order to justify racial discrimination packaged as “affirmative action”.

The ruling party UMNO prides itself on the supposedly “successful” affirmative action in favour of ‘Bumiputeras’. ‘Bumiputera’ literally means ‘princes of the soil’, the official epithet for Malays and other indigenous peoples but which perplexingly excludes the original peoples, the Orang Asli of Peninsula Malaysia. Nevertheless, not all Bumiputeras are treated equally. ‘Bumiputera’ policy has been the cornerstone of development plans since the inception of the New Economic Policy in 1971, a policy ostensibly designed to be of benefit to Bumiputeras as a whole. The reality is that the primary beneficiaries of the implementation of this policy are the new Malay ruling elite, strategically placed to reap the full benefits of this racially-based policy.

At the same time, within a state that is committed to capitalist development and privatisation, the New Economic Policy has also ensured that the non-Malay local and foreign capitalists, especially UMNO’s crony capitalists also gain from the policy. This class cohesion among the Malaysian ruling elite, of various ethnic origins, underpins the racist politics which have characterised Malaysian society since Independence.

Acknowledgements
Preface to the second edition
Foreword by Param Cumaraswamy

INTRODUCTION: RACISM & RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
The politics of race & class
Legacy of British divide-and-rule strategy
Authoritarian populism of the Malaysian state
Racist threats during UMNO power struggles
Racism outsourced to Malay supremacist groups
The ‘Bumiputera/Immigrant’ conceptual trick
Do Malays have special “rights”?
The ruling elite and their statistical charade
Malaysia’s crony capitalism
Institutional obstacles to attaining high-income status
Affirmative action based on need not race
Non-discriminatory basis of the federal constitution
The world community outlaws racism & racial discrimination

Chapter 1: PRE-COLONIAL MALAY SOCIETY
Who was here first?
Malay feudal mode of production
Contradictions in traditional Malay society
European mercantilism
Summary

Chapter 2: BRITISH COLONIAL DIVIDE-AND-RULE
From mercantilism to imperialism
Malay resistance to British intervention
Colonial backing of the Malay ruling class
Promoting the ‘special position of the Malays’
Malay Reservations Enactment
Growth of the working class
Radicalisation of the working class
Specific communalist colonial policies
Summary

Chapter 3: NON-RACIAL ANTI-COLONIAL MOVEMENT
Making of the Malayan workers’ movement
The radical Malay intelligentsia
Japanese Occupation: Brutal communalism
Post-war workers’ struggles
The Malayan Union and the politics of communalism
The Federation of Malaya proposals
The Peoples’ Constitutional Proposals
Prelude to the revolt: Reaction
Summary

Chapter 4: EMERGENCY & THE ‘RACIAL’ FORMULA
The Imperialist stake in Malaya
The ‘Emergency’: 1948-60
Communalist tactics against the guerrillas
Racially based ‘Alliance Formula’
Civil rights compromised
Dato Onn’s communalist politics
MERDEKA: The communal formula enshrined
Summary

Chapter 5: UMNO’S RURAL COMMUNALIST STRATEGY
The neo-colonial economy
The Peasantry
Peasant differentiation
The state’s rural communalist strategy
State intervention in the rural sector
Summary

Chapter 6: MALAYSIA: LARGER COMMUNAL EQUATION
The neo-colonial solution in Singapore
Sarawak and Sabah in the racial equation
The bigger communalist pond
Struggle within the Malay ruling class
May 13, 1696: Coup against the Tunku
Summary

Chapter 7: NEP: INSTITUTIONAL RACISM
Barison Nasional: Larger communal formula
The 1974 general election
The New Economic Policy
Dominance of metropolitan capital
From import-substitution to export-orientation
Workers’ Struggles since Independence
Summary

Chapter 8: THE STATE & SOCIAL CLASSES IN THE SEVENTIES
Contradictions within the ruling coalition
Accommodating the non-Malay capitalists
Growth of the Malay middle class
The working class
Conflict with metropolitan capitalists
Exploitation of workers and women
State repression and communalism
Summary

Chapter 9: MAHATHIR & THE CREATION OF PRIVATE MALAY CAPITAL
Mahathir’s authoritarian populism
Sensational financial scandals
Privatisation and the new Malay capitalists
Favoured “Bumiputera capitalists”
Favoured non-Bumiputera capitalists
Petronas, the cash cow
A racist legacy
Restructuring of the Malaysian working class
Islamic populism
Summary

Chapter 10: RACISM & RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN MALAYSIA TODAY
Back to crony capitalism under Badawi
UMNO outsources racism to the far-right under Najib
Post-GE13: Najib’s Bumiputera policies with a vengeance
Heightened Islamic populism
Institutional racism
Racist indoctrination in state institutions
Racism against ethnic Indians
Racism against indigenous peoples
The state, ruling class and communalism
Class differentiation in Malaysia today
State repression and communalism
Post-GE14: New Old Malaysia
Summary

CONCLUSION: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BASED ON NEED NOT RACE
The struggle for greater democracy

APPENDIX: THE WAY FORWARD
Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Political Institutions
Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Economic development
Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Social Development
Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Education
Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Cultural Policy

Endnotes
Bibliography
Index

Weight 0.545 kg
Dimensions 22.8 × 15.2 × 1.9 cm
Author(s)

Edition

Language

Publisher

Year Published

Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.