Sunday, April 11, 2010

I’m part Orang Asli and proud of it

Hindraf has to wake up. If they do not wish to work with Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat then they will have to go solo. And going solo means it is a dead end road. So Hindraf has to choose its ally. It can’t go to war with the entire world. It has to seek a friend somewhere and get this friend to support its cause.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

My grandmother on my father’s side is Tengku Badariah binti al-Marhum Sultan Ala' eddin Suleiman Shah (3 September 1896 - 11 February 1937), elder sister to HRH Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ala'eddin Suleiman Shah (13 May 1898 - 1 September 1960), the Sixth Sultan of Selangor.

My great grandfather on my father’s side is HRH Sultan Ala' eddin Suleiman Shah ibni al-Marhum Raja Muda Musa, the Fifth Sultan of Selangor (1863 - 3 April 1938). And my great grandmother, the second wife of HRH Sultan Ala' eddin Suleiman Shah, is Hasnah binti Pelong, an Orang Asli.

This means the present Sultan of Selangor and I am both part Orang Asli -- and of course part Bugis. This also makes me the abang (elder) to the present Sultan. And that was why the late Sultan used to address my late father as Abang Din.

I know the Sultan is damned pissed with me. He feels I have not given him and the Perak Sultan the due respect as Sultans. Maybe the Sultan has forgotten that he is adek (younger) to me while I am the abang. His father used to call my father Abang Din. So the Sultan should call me Abang Pete. And I do not need to pay homage to him at the palace, although I used to. He should come to my house for Hari Raya instead. That is the Malay way.

No one can dispute the fact that I have Orang Asli, Bugis, Malay, and of course Welsh blood running through my veins. That makes me more Bumiputera than even Ibrahim Ali and all those activists from Perkasa. I doubt many of them can claim to have Orang Asli blood.

I suppose that is why I am what I am. A combination of Orang Asli, Bugis and Welsh blood is a very potent combination indeed. The Orang Asli, Bugis and Welsh are all very proud of their lineage. Call a Bugis person Malay and you would get a keris in your belly. They are Bugis and proud of it. Call a Welsh an Englishman and he would send you to your Maker. They are Welsh first and British second.

The Welsh Parliament even refuses to conduct its business in the English language. It is conducted in Welsh, the Brythonic branch of the Celtic language spoken only in Wales. In fact, more than 20% of the Welsh people speak Welsh and not English.

Anyway, the point to all this is that if there is one person who should be proud of his bangsa (race) then it should be me. Who can claim to be more Bumiputera than me, a person with Orang Asli blood? But I am prepared to put aside the pride of my bangsa and instead accept that I am Malaysian first and all others second. It appears, however, that many Malaysians would rather fight for their bangsa than for all Malaysians.

I remember once having a conversation with a PKR Indian leader who is also a town councillor for Kelang.

He was lamenting about how Pakatan Rakyat reneged on its promises to look after Indian interests and now that it is the Selangor government the Indians are being neglected. There are not enough Indian representatives in the government, he complained. There were two or three other Indians in the group.

I asked him why he is bitching so much and whether he is Indian, to which he replied of course he is.

I told him to then go back to India and not grumble so much about the Selangor State Government.

He was shocked and for a while was speechless and did not know how to react. “How can you make such a racist statement?” he asked me.

I am not being racial, I replied. I had in fact anticipated he would say that. "You yourself said you are Indian. A person from Germany is German. A person from Italy is Italian. A person from France is French. A person from China is Chinese. So if you are Indian then you must be from India. So go back to India if you are not happy in Malaysia."

He then understood where I was coming from and quickly said that he is Malaysian, not Indian, but a Malaysian of Indian roots.

Okay, I replied, if you are Malaysian then why are you grumbling that there are not enough Indian representatives in the Selangor government. Can’t I, Raja Petra Kamarudin, a Malay, be your Indian representative?

“How can?” he said. “What if an Indian were to become the representative of the Malays? Can you accept that?”

“I can and already have,” I replied.

He looked very puzzled. He did not know what I meant. “I don’t understand,” he said.

“For 22 years we had an Indian as our Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Did you ever see me complain? Sure, I opposed Dr Mahathir. But I opposed him because of how he ran this country and not because he is Indian. In all those years that I wrote criticising Dr Mahathir I never once referred to him as Indian. I always addressed him as Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I never once raised his race as an issue.”

My Indian friend from PKR had nothing more to say. He said goodbye and walked off.

The Indians are too conscious of the fact that they are Indians. They want to be accorded equal treatment but refuse to also treat others as equals. They keep talking about Indian this and Indian that, never Malaysian this or Malaysian that.

I am actually quite tired of the antics of these Indian racists. There is nothing wrong in furthering the Indian cause. I am all for that and would gladly become a member of Hindraf if they would accept me. But I am not Indian. So Hindraf will not accept me. In England those in Hindraf will be sent to jail for this racial bar. In England Hindraf can’t refuse to accept me as a member just because I am not Indian.

Yes, in England Hindraf would be declared a racist organisation and their leaders would be dragged to court.

Maybe I will file legal action against Hindraf in a British court just to prove my point. Hmm… I think I will contact my lawyer tomorrow and see if he can file legal action against Hindraf in a British court. That would teach them not to be too racist.

Doesn’t Hindraf see that it and Perkasa are both the same? They are just on opposite sides of the same coin.

I would love to get involved in Hindraf. I would love to join their cause. But if their cause is about Indians and by Indians only, then I am excluded from the Hindraf cause. Open your doors please, Hindraf. Invite non-Indians like me to support your cause. I am prepared to be the first non-Indian to join the ranks of Hindraf.

But before that can happen you must first not declare all non-Indians as the enemy. You are angry with Barisan Nasional. You are angry with Pakatan Rakyat. You are angry with Malays. You are angry with fellow Indians. You fight amongst yourselves. Which is the real Hindraf? There are five different Hindrafs. Will the real Hindraf please stand up!

The Hulu Selangor by-election on 25 April 2010 will be a good test of Hindraf’s sincerity. You refuse to support Barisan Nasional. You also refuse to support Pakatan Rakyat. Then who do you want as the government?

Okay, if Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are both equally unsuitable then boycott both. Then form your own third front. And then contest the next general election as the third force. Contest all the 800 or so Parliament and State Assembly seats. Make it a three-corner fight. Let’s see how many seats you can win.

You will need at least 800 Indian candidates. Each candidate will need about RM100,000 to contest the general election. That would come to RM80 million. Even that is not enough. Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat would be spending a combined total of about RM2 billion, Barisan Nasional alone RM1.5 billion.

So how far can RM80 million take you? This is assuming you can raise RM80 million, although RM250 million would be more realistic. How many seats from those 800 can Hindraf win? If Hindraf depends on just Indian votes it will not win a single seat. There are no seats where the Indians make up more than 50% of the voters.

Hindraf will be totally wiped out and will not win a single seat if they depend on just Indian votes. They need Malay and Chinese votes as well. So Hindraf can’t just be about Indians, by Indians. Hindraf also needs the Malays and Chinese to support their cause.

Hindraf has to wake up. If they do not wish to work with Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat then they will have to go solo. And going solo means it is a dead end road. So Hindraf has to choose its ally. It can’t go to war with the entire world. It has to seek a friend somewhere and get this friend to support its cause.

I, for one, am prepared to support Hindraf’s cause. And I will send a message to Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, in the event he is chosen as the Hulu Selangor candidate, to also support Hindraf’s cause. In fact, he must also support the Orang Asli cause because I have Orang Asli blood running through my veins and the Orang Asli are worse off than the Indians.

Let the Hulu Selangor by-election be the day that Hindraf sends ‘their man’ to Parliament. And let this man be a Malaysian, not Malay, although he may be of Malay descent. Let Hindraf tell the 19% Indian voters in Hulu Selangor that they are not voting for a Malay but for a Malaysian who will ensure that their voice is heard in Parliament.

That is the only way forward for Hindraf. If not then Hindraf will flounder and eventually die. Hindraf just can’t make it without Malay and Chinese support. And 80% of the voters in Hulu Selangor are Malays, Chinese and Orang Asli. And if you don’t believe this then try and contest the Hulu Selangor by-election and see what happens to the independent Indian candidate from Hindraf. Maybe hilang deposit.

courtesy of

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