At 4pm on the 29th of October, upon my return from an Open House hosted by Dato Azim of Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), I chanced upon meeting with Nadzru, an old friend. I have been told that we have similar facial structures, perhaps because we both share Yemeni Origins in lineage. We greeted and hugged the Arabian style. Alhamdulillah, I am very fortunate as to have met this chartered engineer who is a friend of the late Haroun Peranchis.

Aside from a successful corporate figure, Nadzru is also a very able linguist, translating with ease and precision from English or Bahasa to Arabic, not to mention his ability to speak well in French. He writes with The Editorial, The Nation and Bangkok post, among others. Although successful, Nadzru maintains a humble personality. This is our first meeting which includes an exchange of business cards, a serious attempt at establishing or rather reconnecting the Silaturrahim, whereas previously we’ve only came across each other whilst transitting at KlIA or Soekarno Hatta airport in Indonesia.

Syed Ali ii.jpg

I have few friends who are traders of oil and gas, one other person is YB Senator Dato Syed Ali- Habshi, head of Umno Cheras division.

This man (Nadzru) has offices in Jakarta , Bangkok , the Middle east and North Africa , his trade being oil and gas. Nadzru is a director of a few public listed companies, of which Ranhill berhad is one of them. He invited me to his office at the 40th floor of the Empire tower in Jalan Tun Razak, located next to the Crown princess. If one intends on a big catch, one must go to the oceans, similarly if the intention is for a good story, a man of wisdom is a good bet.

In life there needs to be balance between effort and surrender, good fortune or divine guidance can serve as a very useful tool in our daily undertakings. While I’m looking for the therapy for the ‘sickness’ or pathology of my people, especially it’s leaders, regardless of race, I am fortunate to have met this man, making it easier for me to better understand the concept of Ketuanan Melayu, Supremacy of the Malays, or rather leadership of the Malays. This man is useful as a role model, of which the significance I will explain if you read on.

Whilst the urbanites are filled sicknesses of the heart, the citizenry as a whole are suffering from heartaches, angered at ‘supremacy of the Malays’, a concept thought of as an empty slogan used by politicians to justify nepotism and cronyism.

It is an exhilarating feeling to have an office in a high-rise sky scraper, where you can see how beautiful Kuala Lumpur has become as a city. Perhaps it is even more exhilarating to sit as a ‘Boss’ without expanding any effort. Mind you, it isn’t easy being a boss/employer to Europeans, Arabs and Africans, it definitely isn’t easy as compared to a person who expects to live luxuriously just because he hangs around the powerful. It is this kind of Leadership of the Malays that is hated by not only the none-Malays but among Malays themselves. These individuals are hated by Malays who have lived 50 years under independence, but treated differently because they don’t belong to a group of ‘elites’ holding on to the political power today.

No sane individual would be angered at a Malay being a C.E.O of a company selling expertise in technology for example, but what causes this anger and discomfort is the ignoramus, the imbecile who know nothing but yet demand the 30% of the share of equity. The 30% is a target that should be shared equally among all the bumiputra’s, but the ones who benefits most are the sons and daughters, the in-laws and the cronies. Only those with connections become indescribably rich, becoming Hudsucker proxies, using names of some bumiputra’s who only serve as instruments.

My thought was interrupted when a coffee boy (Not Anuar’s International Coffee boy Saiful) brought us two cups of tea. Nadzru than begins the discussion with his gratitude to the late Tun Razak who replaced the Premiership of Tunku Abdul Rahman after the bloody incident of may 13th 1969. Due to Tun Razak’s effort, many Malays benefited with an opportunity to pursue degrees not limited to literature alone, an effort that must be repaid with Gratitude.

The words that come from his mouth shows me that he is a Malay that is proud to be a Malay even when Malays today are ashamed of calling themselves Malays. Malays as a civilization is a great civilization when one reminisces on a Quote by the late Soekarno. “Dari Sabang hingga ke Marouke di mana ada daun niur melambai-lambai, kerbau berkubang, di situlah tanah air ku.” – Which asserts that geographically the Malay civilization is a rich civilization. Malays number more than 500 million world-wide, and the country that hosts the most Muslims in the world is Indonesia. Samuel Huntington for example recognizes the Malay civilization to be one of the 6 major civilizations. Whilst Kassim Ahmad in his memoirs from socialism to Islam retorts that if we are to progress as a civilization, than we must not forget our Malay roots. I should add why not? The Malay civilization contains a wealth of culture, be It in literature, a rich oral tradition, or the possibility of substantial thought progression. Forgetting this root and identity will push us to the realm of oblivion. The myth of Tanggang for example reminds us that a boy who forgets his parents in preference of more Suave ones was condemned to being a stone. This is but a metaphor to say that if we forget our culture in our craze to uncritically adopt new ones will be dealt by the hands of nature.

Those who study the Malay History will come across people like Tokku Paloh who defeated a British Armada in Terengganu. The supremacy of the Malays, I assert is in the hands of the Ulama, Scholars who are the inheritors of the Prophets.

Nadzru, recollecting his past retorts, if it weren’t for ITM introducing Engineering as an option for the Malay students, if he had not mastered the Islamic sciences in his madrasah, he might not be able to be in the position to do business with Arabs in Sudan and the middle east who require Arabic as the language of commerce.

Is the one who knows, the same as the one who know not? (Quran)

Ask those who know, if you know not. (Quran)

He started his foreign business packed with expertise in the field of engineering when Pak Lah took over the premiership in 2004. At a time when Tun Mahathir let go of his seat after 22 years, Pak Lah told that the nation’s resources were draining-out. Nadzru believed that God is the all-rich and enriching, started his Hijrah, migrating, so that he didn’t have to compete for projects in which it is difficult unless one knows the powerful. Nadzru the linguist is a son of an Islamic School teacher in Kelantan, not a son of a prime minister, a chief minister, or any minister. He gained his wealth abroad from his efforts, but still elects to make Kuala Lumpur as his home-base. How fortunate the Malays could be if only there were more corporate figures who are as patriotic as he is. Love of one nation is part of iman, different from asobiah, a systematic form of racism to promote discrimination on other races.

As he was narrating the importance of the knowledge of science and technology, and how to use precise Arabic terminologies for technological terms, a European man knocked on the door. Nadzru invited the engineer in, and apologized as he had something to settle. Than another one came in requesting his signature. This gesture made me say, cemerlang, gemilang dan terbilang.

Whereas figures like Nadzru can be said to be cemerlang gemilang dan terbilang (successful, prosperous and selected), some Umno members are Temberang, Terbuang, nak diterajang (liars, the worst among the people, and deserves to be kicked out of the leadership). But why? Unethical misappropriation of the people’s money, becoming directors in numerous companies entrusted by the people, ensuring that his own race remains slaves, bereft of human skills like business skills and services, not to mention covering up secrets and misconducts of ministers/politicians waiting to be fired.

Suddenly an email from Dato Haji Ikram Bin Ibrahim, Dato_ikram@rahmanbrothers.com.my came across my mind. I have produced his email in www.shalattas.com, and now I shall comment on some of his criticisms, as I believe my short period with Nadzru is useful, in good hopes that the closed mindedness of some of the Malays could be addressed. This phenomenon is a common one in Malaysia , where one prefers to narrate stories than to read.

“God does not change the fate of a nation unless the people correct themselves"-Al-Quran.

Why must those who do not get a cut from the 30% of the new economic policy continue to envy and attack the ‘leadership of the malays?”. Nadzru’s grand parents migrated to the Malaya then, he is a malay who’s heart and soul clings to the malay identity even if his genes are not even 50% malay.

How many percent of those who claim to be malay actually have a lineage of 30 generations of malays who have lived on this land? Perhaps not more than 10%. You yourself is more of an arab then a malay. Your malay blood is probably 10%. And so is the case with Tun Mahathir, Ahmad Ismail, Pak lah, Reezal merican, MD Nor Yakop, Mohd maidin and others. All have not exceeded 2 or generations of malays who have lived in Malaysia . (direct translation)

"Berapa peratus orang-orang yang mendakwa mereka Melayu ada pertalian dengan 30 generasi orang Melayu yang pernah wujud di bumi ini? Mungkin 10% sahaja. Anda sendiri lebih rupa Arab dari Melayu.Darah Melayu anda mungkin 10% sahaja. Begitu juga Tun Mahathir, Ahmad Ismail, Pak Lah, Reezal Merican, Md Nor Yakop, Mohd Maidin, dan lain-lain semuanya adalah 2 atau 3 generasi sahaja berada di Malaysia."

That was the words from Ikhram who does not understand the definition of a malay as per the constitution, perhaps that is why he is envious of malays who are proud of the “leadership of the malays”, now, I’m not one to say that I am not a Malaysian race, but my stress here is upon the Islamic bond of relationship, that allows us to be of the malays trough integration from marriage. The openness of the constitutional definition of being Malay allows for virtually any race to be a malay. In fact, being a malay now is not being racist, rather being a malay is upholding a certain way of life reflective of a long held cultural heritage.

Wherever we may go, we are citizens of Malaysia , but strength and identity, or the malayness, if I may, makes one wants to fight for what being a malay is. Of course again, this does not mean that we by anyway should condone intolerance of other races and religions in this country.

He further continues his argument incoherently

"So, do not talk about Malay issues. forget about being proud of being a Malay because you and people like you are not really Malays, but Malay celop, I should say - Celop Arab, celop Mat Salleh, celop Siam, celop India dll. Let us talk as Malaysians."

I should think that Ikhram suffers from a psychological sickness, what is he ranting on about? I mean behind this message of let us talk as Malaysians, isn’t it merely a mask of the Asobiah? Malaysia for Malaysians is mainly a masquarade. In truth, no races want to vanquish their identity in favor of being a Malaysian. Malaysia is not America, Malaysia thrives on multi-culturalism, multi racial and multy religions, but the underlying unity is respect, not being new tanggangs.

Should one reject the leadership of a group of malays who are reportedly not ‘pure breeds’? Has he not heard of genetic vigour? Or perhaps he has not heard of aristotle’s definition of being under a nation state, where it all depends on a shared way of life?

Or maybe I should remind him of the malay proverb, "bumi ini yang dipijak, langit ini yang mesti dijunjung".

Let us not work on extremes. I am not an advocate of sending back none-malays to their countries of origins, like how Idi amin did in Uganda . I believe myself that the idea of a Malaysian identity is still forming. But at the same time, this crazy drive of diminishing the leadership of the malays, as laid down in the constitution disturbs structure, and without structure, nothing can work. It maybe imperfect yes, but the process needs time.

As for the origins of those malays, you may be right on Melayu celups(dyed malays (where one’s true race is masked by adopting a malay lifestyle, follows islam as a religion, speaks the malay language). But my arab roots are not one that is ‘dyed’. Like the Chinese who have family surnames, arabs puts an importance on Zuriyat (lineage). A genealogy ensures that not any one can claim to be from a certain Kabilah. But being malay is different. The malay race does not have last names, so much so that one may not know the parent of his grand father. This makes it so much easier to blend in a malay community. Everyone is addressed as individuals. Malays are different from the turks, whom after Kamal Ataturk started adopting last names the concept of which they never had. Even in the naming system, one can identify that being a malay is a very egalitarian form of living.

But just because you come from a different system of naming, this does not give you the right to brand me a half-cast arab or half-cast malay or people like me as half-cast (celop).

Your accusation sir, that I am a half-cast Arab shows how shallow your knowledge of genealogy is. Your allegation is like that which Raja Petra leveled on Syed Ali Al-habshi when he irresponsibly said that Ali’s ancestors were from the Habashi tribes in North Africa, when in truth Ali is a hadharami like myself, with our ancestry going back to the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). My great grand father Almarhum Habib Omar Ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Attas Shahibbul Ratib Kutubulanfas. Traces of my ancestry go back to Imam Hussein who was the son of Ali and Fatimah, the daughter of the prophet Muhammad Sallahualaihiwasalam.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Verily Allah choose Isma'il from the progeny of Ibrahim, and chose Banu Kinanah from the progeny of Isma'il, and chose Quraish from the Banu Kinanah, and chose Banu Hashim from Quraish, and chose me from Banu Hashim." At-Tirmidhi has narrated this tradition from Wathilah ibn al-Asqa' and has said that this tradition is sahih (correct).

Kunta Kinte, as written by Alex haley knows of his roots, similarly Barack obama is not ashamed to admit of his Kenyan ancestry. Today he is the first African-american to live in the White House.

As for being a half cast malay, again I must say you clearly don’t understand what being malay is according to the constitution. This challenging some’ones malayness is simply madness.

The arabs are the ones who brought islam to this land. By virtue of marriage, some of them managed to become sultans of this land. Would you call Sultan Syed sirajuddin Al-jamalullail a half-cast as well when he is the protector of our religion and cultural heritage?

Not only did you level a personal accusation against my heritage, you further try to humiliate other figures who have served the country over the course of generations. You accused Tun Mahathir Muhammad who have advanced the cause for the country and the malays, you listed other prominent figures who are clearly sinless against you.

Me being proud of my ancestry does not compromise my sense of duty towards my nation and my people. I am not a fascist who believes my superiority rests on me being this or that person’s progeny.

It does not matter who our ancestors are, so long as we are human beings, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. The most noble amongst us in the sight of Allah is the righteous. There’s a hadith that narrates of how Allah does not look at our appearances but looks at our hearts

Nobility is in ones knowledge and ones character, not in one’s lineage-ali

It does not matter where we come from, as the slogan says Malaysia boleh, then let us all be committed to a cease-fire as have been done by the bloggers.

"A man is noble, not because he comes from a noble family but because he has done noble deeds."

Say: "O Allah. Lord of Power (And Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power-Quran" (Trans Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

Now, 12 years after independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman who led umno then didn’t subscribe to what you claim as TOTOK system. He was more of an apologist, in the end UMNO and the malays drifted until Tun Razak had to propose the New Economic Policy.

But don’t go on blaming the N.E.P if the malays are cheated. The ones deserving of blame are the irresponsible. To many has become robbers upon obtaining power. The myth of the ring of gyges has been proven true by these leaders.

Your claim that today, almost all the present malay generation are ‘highly educated, with more exposure to new social ties, an exponential growth of information, and a way of thinking which is more strategic and pragmatic’ is an extremely optimistic picture of the current general population. But lets take it on face value that this is true. Then can you deny that this success is not a product of the backwardness (ketotokan) of the UMNO leaders that was started by Tun Razak trough his N.E.P, and the spirit of “leadership for the malays” that is inculcated in to the hearts of the malays by the backward UMNO leaders?. Today his son Dato’ Seri Najib has won the seat for the presidency of UMNO uncontested, final-countdowns to replace Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi.

But irregardless, had it not been for the backward practices of UMNO, do you think the malays could even survive today? But because of the “tolerance” of the late tunku abdul rahman, in embracing the tak apa attitude, malays lagged to far. Are there no apologetic leaders the likes of Tunku today?

What is destroying Umno, what is killing this institution is the irresponsible Politicians, not the “backwardness” that you claim. These backward-minded leaders love their race more than themselves. These leaders wants the field to be leveled. Progress is shared, the pie wants to be shared. Humans are given reason for a reason, and I believe this reason is enough to prevent the rule of the jungle that seeks to weed the weak out of existence, different from the Islamic principal that invites the weak to improve themselves. What will eventually cause the collapse of Umno are the politicians who blame others as guilty of bribery when they cant win votes. Umno will be destroyed by the malay tycoons whom upon not being granted million ringgit projects by Umno start defaming and accusing umno of heinous crimes, whereas those who get their hands on millions of the people money hide and does not repay nor help the institution of the party.

As a result, it is definite, that the Malay population loses its trust in this institution to the arms of the opposition. But if only they would realize, they are like the malay proverb "upon being safe of the teeth of the tiger, they jump into the mouth of the alligator”.

Be reminded of the advice of the elders, if one is sick, than find a cure, if one is filled with sins, don’t continue on sinning, but start repenting. This is the only formulation that may save the fate of the malay race.

Remember, there’s only about 50% of malays in this blessed country, if we are not careful, how many students actually posess credibility, integrity and critical intelligence? Some may even graduate from foreign universities, but yet posess an extremely weak command of English, with knowledge limited to the scrolls they carry. Malay Students who prove this assertion wrong is in the minority, and the none-bumi companies will not employ them unless they posess the necessary skills.

Does the malay leader selling his Malaysia for Malaysians know how many malay students actually have leadership quality and socio-cultural capital? What is going to happen to the brunt of malays who still live in their comfort zones who still depend on the B.N government for their futures? The malays are like the eon proton industry, living under protectionism. It maybe harmful for the economy in the short run, even the long run perhaps. But this does not make room that efficiency shouldn’t be our only goal for the country. But if the country is pushed, proton could eventually be scrapped of the country. But eon is a motor industry, the malays are a group of people, must we deal with them the same as how we are going to treat our motor industry? Scrap the malay race out because it is no longer efficient to have malays in Malaysia ? Or outsource them perhaps?

Umno today is a sick giant, perhaps like Gulliver in Swift’s gulliver’s travel, to give you a clear picture. The lilliputs, or the individuals are bringing it down by constantly attacking this giant. This giant may not be able to survive such colossal attacks, and one may find Gulliver one day to be no more.

Yesterday is History,
Tomorrow is mystery,
Today is a gift,
That’s why it’s called the present.


Rendered and interpreted into the English language by S.H Al-Attas Jr. Visit www.shalattas.com

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