Why can’t we think Malaysian first?

Malaysian flag

Ketuanan Melayu, Ketuanan Cina, maybe even Ketuanan India – that’s what many are talking about.

But why isn’t anyone talking about Ketuanan Malaysia?

Come on people. We have been independent since 1957 and a united nation since 1963 yet all we ever seem to talk about is race and religion.

We have those from Isma, Dong Zong and Hindraf all fighting for their causes but not a single one is thinking about doing what’s right for the country as a whole.

Then we have a fugitive who is telling the “Chinese to go back to China” and that “the Indians in Malaysia love India and its prime minister more!” And people from across the divide debating if his speeches were “taken out context” … even though there is video evidence he said those things.

Meanwhile, a business tycoon decided to insult our soldiers by saying all they do is eat and sleep, and even when he was forced to apologise, still insisted soldiers must do more in times of peace.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Merdeka is two weeks away and Malaysia Day a further fortnight, yet we seem more disunited than ever.

Look at the recent controversy of khat being taught in schools.

I agree 100 per cent with the Chinese and Tamil education groups who have urged the government to postpone the introduction of khat to vernacular primary schools.

It is not that I’m opposed to khat – a form of Malay-Arabic calligraphy writing – but the standard of Bahasa Melayu (BM) in most of these Chinese and Tamil schools is appalling.

The Education Ministry should channel more time and effort on teaching these students to appreciate our national language and making sure they can carry out a proper conversation in it.

What’s worse, some take great pride in their inability to speak BM as they don’t view it as “important”.

I find that ridiculous as it is our national language and would go as far as to say we should abolish vernacular schools altogether while allocating adequate time in national schools for children to learn their mother tongue.

Vernacular schools are protected by the Education Act 1996, but why are we still separated by the need to have Chinese- and Tamil-based schools? Why can’t we have just one school for all?

A disclaimer: My son went to a Chinese school until he finished Standard Six while my daughter dropped out to go to a national school halfway through Standard Five.

The decision to go to those schools was to pick up Mandarin as China is becoming, or rather has become, a world superpower.

It certainly was not because we didn’t want to learn BM.

I use BM when I speak to my son and in-laws – even though my Malay needs some work.

And while we have many Malaysians struggling to speak BM, many immigrants who come to Malaysia – be they Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Myanmars, Pakistanis, Indians and even mainland Chinese – have picked up the language.

Let us start to love our national language and more importantly, think as one people first.

Maybe then, we can start being more Ketuanan Malaysia.

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