And then, at the Teluk Intan by-election, a former Vice-Chancellor and various alumni campaigned all-out to make sure the “Malay traitor” Dyana Sofea Mohd Daud would not succeed.
Dyana was depicted as someone who allowed herself to be “used” by the DAP and as having betrayed her race for suggesting, amongst other things, that UiTM be open to other races.
Equally repugnant to UiTM was Dyana’s refusal to support the Hudud Plan in Parliament. The full blast against Dyana lasted for 12 days. I do not know what effect these personal attacks and insults have had on a candidate as young as Dyana, but when the same was done to me, it certainly took its toll on my family and loved ones.
I just hope young aspiring politicians will now know what to expect if they do not share the views of the “defenders of the Malay race”.
I have a soft spot for UiTM for obvious reasons. I am an ordinary alumnus and not one of the successful luminaries who descended on Teluk Intan recently.
In my view, UiTM has lately become very political—their lecturers and administrators have been actively making political statements instead of confining themselves to educational matters.
They’ve had a lot of publicity as a result. Perhaps they think this enhances their profiles and makes them suitable for promotion and contract extensions because they are “champions of the Malays”, but they are actually doing a disservice to academia generally.
These lecturers and administrators—if they are truly professional educators—should concern themselves with helping Bumiputera become world-class professionals as mandated by the original promoters of MARA, and not just in terms of numbers but in quality as well.
UiTM graduates should be able to participate competitively in business and the professional world of post-Independence Malaysia. But, as we have seen, these lecturers and administrators have other things in mind.
To me, they shouldn’t make fools of themselves by airing their political views. It was unnecessary for the former Vice-Chancellor and the alumni to gang up on Dyana just because of her political beliefs.
On reflection, while the savage attacks might have caused pain to Dyana and her family, it must also have hurt UiTM as an academic institution, even though the “champions” might not have thought so.
When I was a young student at ITM (as it then was), the Director, Dato’ Arshad Ayub, reminded me and my fellow students that we were fortunate to be given the chance to study and that we should not let that opportunity slip away.
We were told that Bumiputera from the villages must have good qualifications and skills if they were to be useful citizens. I was thankful for the chance.
As a kampung boy from a poor farming family, I was eternally grateful to ITM for the chance to do an external LLB course because I did not have the brains or the station in life (like Khairy Jamaluddin) to be accepted at Oxford or Cambridge.
There was no law faculty in the country then. In those days, Dato’ Arshad and the lecturers did not try to indoctrinate or brainwash us about the so-called “threats” to our existence. All they demanded was that we studied hard and made ourselves useful to our families and communities.
We were never told that the Chinese (i.e. the DAP) were out to take over the country or that Christians were converting Muslims en masse.
None of us were described as “traitors” for our liberal views. As a student leader, I was already advocating freedom of expression and the Rule of Law, and for the Government to do more to help the poor.
We had a robust campus life and many of us spent hours in the Library, which was then the best in the country. It was full of books and journals and they were mostly in English. I am not sure though how much time Dato’ Ibrahim Ali and other defenders of the race spent in the Library.
The amount of racial indoctrination in UiTM at present has gone too far. Putting politics at the forefront of everything else compromises academic excellence, and fanning fear of a legitimate political party like the DAP makes no sense at all.
Members of the DAP are generally ordinary businessmen, Chinese schoolteachers, rubber dealers, pork sellers, shopkeepers, factory owners and shop-lot operators.
They generally do not belong to the elite—and it’s the elite that has the power to deprive ordinary Malays of their economic rights and political power. DAP members do not exert political influence on the elite. They do not receive privatisation projects or huge tracts of land for housing development from state governments at low prices.
They aren’t close to the Istana nor do they have timber and highway concessions. They aren’t independent power producers like YTL and Genting. Indeed, those Chinese who usually get these prized assets are not DAP members, so what can ordinary DAP members do to pose a threat to the Malays?
Is the DAP a threat because of its ideology? How bad is this ideology? It can’t be worse than Communism, and even the Prime Minister is fostering closer relations with the biggest communist government in the world—recently, we even celebrated 40 years of close ties between the two countries.
Perhaps we can celebrate this every year since so many Chinese are buying property in Johor. And the DAP is worse than Communism? Impossible.
Well, some Malays tell me that they are opposed to the party’s “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan. According to them, the slogan shows the DAP is anti-Malay.
How can this slogan be threatening? It’s the DAP’s way of saying that all citizens are equal before the law, which is the correct position to have in any country in the world…except Malaysia, apparently.
Anyway, even if the DAP has skewed views about politics, that’s its right as a political party in a free country. Besides, the Chinese in the MCA are also Chinese, in case the defenders of the Malay race have forgotten.
Chinese in the DAP are no different from Chinese in the MCA. They all look alike. The only difference is this: Chinese in the MCA are willing to let UMNO rule forever as long as they get some seats in the Cabinet, or are given some port and highway concessions from time to time.
The DAP, on the other hand, is willing to give Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim the chance to become Prime Minister as long as the DAP too gets some seats in the Cabinet.
So those in UiTM should not get all worked up and let its students become confused because of petty politics—but perhaps these administrators and lecturers are UMNO representatives themselves.
If this is the case, they are the real traitors to the Malays because they are supposed to teach Malays to be educated and skilled. They are supposed to teach Malays how to think and become positive contributors to the nation, and not waste time with political indoctrination.
I urge UiTM to stay focused on teaching and helping students to develop their talents and faculties to the maximum so that they can contribute to the community.
Students and alumni need to be aware of social and economic issues, of course, but politics is toxic to the brain. Tell them instead to study harder and take an interest in issues like corruption in high places, poverty as well as drug addiction amongst Malay youths—in fact, there are so many pressing issues they can interest themselves in.
They should focus their attention on rising crime in cities and give ideas to the Police on how these crimes can be curbed. They must ask why, in our country, there is a divorce every 10 minutes—and it will be fruitful if they can help the authorities understand why family life amongst Malays seems to be so brittle.
Would it not be better if UiTM became a positive force for the betterment of its students and of society, instead of being involved in cheap politics?
Attending to serious socio-economic issues is a lot harder than parading oneself as a defender of the race, but that’s what serious academics do if they really want to be true heroes.
Jelapang: Apa pandangan anda?