Assalamualaikum w.w. rakan-rakan ANSARA sekalian,
As we bid farewell to what I personally think as a very active 2018 for ANSARA, the committee and I could assure you that we’ll heighten 2019 with a lot more programs to keep ANSARANs on their toes. I hope everybody will join us in the KSA which will open the curtain of 2019 in February. Like that is not huge enough (I was told there would be close to 10,000 participants from more than 40 chapters taking part in various sport events over 3 weekends in February), we’ll quickly follow with an annual dinner the following month. Keep your 2019 calendar buzzing with anticipation, brothers and sisters.
Before we get kicking in the new year, let us reflect on the tribulations of 2018. From my observation, Bumiputera has been “under attack” from many quarters and our rights have been challenged in the name of skewed equality.
While the government had in November 2018 announced it would not ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), it remains as one of the most worrying issues resurfaced in a huge way in 2018. For those who are not very familiar with ICERD, it is a one of the UN convention ratified on December 21st 1965 and was in effect since January 4th 1969. It is supposedly a human rights instrument that commits its members to the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of understanding among all races. Malaysia has been one of the 15 countries who haven't ratified the convention. If we care to learn about the history of the country and our constitution, we know why it should not be ratified.
There will be many risks in a few clear areas and practices in Malaysia. First, the Malay Royal Regiment. Second, the Malay reserved lands. Third, the Article 153 of the constitution which legally protects the quota in public services, scholarships and financial privileges. Ratifying the ICERD means we need to revise our constitution and change our practices on the three main concerns above. Closer to us are the impact on institutions like MRSM and other similar institutions like them. Not to mention the financial tools like the trusts ran by PNB such as the ASB, ASN and a host of other similar funds.
Our stand on this is very clear: we oppose the ratification of ICERD and the reasons are clear, based on the impacts above and the social contract that our forefathers had accorded on. This brings us to another more important agenda which we need to keep our focus on - the continuing fight to empower all Bumiputeras to rise above our comfort zones and be independent and resourceful to take on the vast opportunities not only in Malaysia, but in the borderless world we live in today.
Quality, competency and integrity are key to elevate ourselves on all fronts and the biggest contributor to these key attributes could come from education. ANSARA, being an organization filled with educated MRSM leavers, should focus on alleviating the challenges which come after the education phase and assist our fellow ANSARANs to improve our quality of lives and to secure the quality of lives of our generations to come.
I think it is high time for us to strengthen alliances with other strategic organizations and groups who are aligned with our agenda. We should aspire to lead this coalition and cooperation by putting aside our differences and focus on synergizing our similarities and stay united to systematically and consistently push our agenda at the national level. We need to have our unified voices out there consistently and create a sense of urgency that would resonate with the aspirations of all Bumiputeras in the country. This requires a concerted effort by many organizations and we at ANSARA wouldn’t shy away from taking the active lead if we think that it is appropriate for us to do so. To start the ball rolling, ANSARA together with ASMARA, recently launched Tabung Pendidikan ANSARA to provide financial aid for ANSARA members to pursue post graduate studies. Earlier in 2018, ANSARA together with MARA initiated ANSARA Student Development Program to help MRSM students be better prepared for life after MRSM.
I want to end my message with a very important reminder to all of us: the most dangerous state to be is in the state of accepting the wrong notion of our self-worth. The state of thinking that we are weak. For some reasons, our historical paths have buried our racial prowess into an abyss. Let me quote a historical event from the book written by William N. Armstrong in 1904 which recorded that:
“The young Siamese King knew the geographical arrangements of islands in the Pacific Ocean. He had been informed, he said, of the future importance of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He asked the King if he had trouble with foreigners. We afterward learned that the two white men in the King’s suite, instead of natives, suggested to him a disagreeable dominance of the white race. He was surprised at the large stature of His Hawaiian Majesty and asked to what race he belonged. When he was told that there was Malay blood in the Hawaiians, he replied, “ The Siamese are partly Malay; we are related.”
So there it went, like not many of us nowadays know, that Malays have been a glorified race. A race that even Kings had wanted to be part of. We dream of a day when Malays will once again be a respected race.
Tidak Melayu Hilang di Dunia.
Selamat Tahun Baru Dua Ribu Sembilan Belas.
Dato’ Kamarul Redzuan Muhamed
Presiden ANSARA Malaysia
- 01 JAN 2019 -