Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 19. 3rd August 1972
Malaysian Reappraisal — Neo ~ Colonialism in Malaysia
Neo ~ Colonialism in Malaysia
In Salient no. 17 we published a letter from "Tet" condemning both the MSSA and the MSA. Malaysians on campus are activist on matters concerning themselves as the following letters indicate.
We cannot escape the reality of the presence of two Malaysian Students Associations on campus, and the effects of these two Associations on Malaysian-New Zealand student relations.
Tet's letter should not be taken too lightly, for it raises many important issues. Like Tet my intention is to create more waves so that the whole Malaysian student body can again be revived to consider the problems which face Malaysian students on campus.
My belief is that there are very few among us who would dare to come all out with a pontifical statement that would solve once and for all overseas/NZ student relationships, and not feel guilty that he is perhaps not as impartial as he should be. However this should not deter us from making any statement at all regarding overseas students for such an attitude will lead us nowhere.
There is nothing wrong with overseas students wanting or having associations of their own. There are many reasons why overseas students, and in particular Malaysian students because they are more conspicuous owing to their large numbers, want to clique together. Their reasons are as varied as those of the many cliques that exist in this campus. In addition of course they have the added reason that they have something in common, i.e. being overseas students.
The need for an association representing and catering for the needs of Malaysian students on campus is beyond doubt. But the question that is troubling me and many others is whether we should have two associations catering for Malaysian students. It is my opinion that having two Malaysian associations unnecessarily splits the Malaysian students into two camps. This situation is pretty devastating to an incoming first year Malaysian student. He will either be drawn into needless conflict, or stay out of it. If he stays out of the conflict, he will find himself alienated by both groups.
My point is that in having one single association, we Malaysians would at least be taking a step forward in creating a better image for ourselves vis-a-vis outsiders and more importantly that we recognise that we are making an effort towards national unity. By institutionalising ourselves into two Associations, we will never achieve these aims.
(Abridged) M. Lim.
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It's not a matter of being members of MSA or MSSA, we need closer friendship among us and also to our host New Zealanders. I'd like to see Mr. Tet in the committee of MSSA. We (Malaysians and Singaporeans) have to understand each other better in order to be fit as students on this campus! MSA and MSSA unite!
(Abridged) One of Malaysians.
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It's about time more Malaysian students got up off their arses to participate actively in their own associations. Mere apathy and disillusion will only perpetuate the present state of affairs in both MSSA and MSA.
To prove Tet's accusation of MSSA and MSA, how about a referendum among all Malaysian students?
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Re-Attack on MSA and MSSA.
It is painfully infuriating to note that Tet has not submitted workable suggestions but instead groundless allegations, and has attacked destructively rather than criticized constructively the two existing Associations. It drives me up the wall to read downright unfounded allegations about MSA's and MSSA's lack of spirit and activity. For Tet's information activities have included sporting tournaments, forums and coffee evenings, social gatherings, ski trips, host family schemes and various tours.
There is nevertheless a suggestion that the MSA and MSSA executives have not done much politically. Most of us realize and appreciate that Malaysia and Singapore have imminent and critical racial, economic and administrative problems, Many of us genuinely want to have a say and hope that some weight and positive consideration will be given to our diverse political opinions. Both Associations could hold forums, invite our respective Government representatives for addresses and questions, even start a student's political paper and establish contacts with the student Associations in Malaysia, Penang and Singapore Universities.
I realise that the Sedition Act is in force in Malaysia, but I also realize that there is an overwhelming temptation for our leaders back home to utilize this statutory restriction as a convenient licence to operate licentiously. It defies the basic laws of logic to expect our various social factions to harmonize and unite if we cannot even talk about and question the causes. In this respect I agree with Tet that the two Associations have done little or fear to do anything in this direction. I pray that Tet will learn to be less nihilistic but more realistic in the future.
(Abridged) J. Chin Shoo Ted.
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Tet's wild allegations against the MSA Committee are utterly without foundations. The MSA Committee are not 'a group of selfish power sucking racists' neither are they sick or a dictatorship. Admittedly there is room for improvement and the Committee is open to suggestions.
Poor attendance to MSA functions is not, in my opinion, due to lack of support of MSA. Rather it's partly caused by heavy academic workloads especially arising out of the change of the course structure this year. On top of that there is the general apathy and indifference not only among Malaysian students, but students in general. The poor response to Bahasa Malaysia classes is unfortunate indeed. I hope in future that Malaysian students will be more cooperative and make use of the opportunity given to them to learn Bahasa. If Tet is willing to contribute his ideas and manpower to MSA, then he is welcomed to do so. I challenged Tet to come out and speak up. Failing this I will only regard him as one of those shit stirrers, and we all know what they are!!
(Abridged) Zaidi K. Zainie. President MSA.
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Tet's "Attack on MSSA and MSA" (Salient No. 17) should be construed as a warning for Malaysian students to wake up from their slumber. While it is easy to make these "so called Malaysian Students Representatives" scapegoats for our own failure to be a harmonious and intergrated "small society", I cannot help feeling that the failings of MSSA and MSA are partly the result of the attitude of the majority of Malaysian students towards these associations.
I am against the existence of dual student bodies catering for the needs of similar students. However it is not my intention to say which Association is redundent. The ultimate issue is not how badly the MSSA and the MSA have served us; but how have we, Malaysian students at large, responded to the calls of these Associations in the execution of their duties and obligations. The response and interaction between the two must be mutual if anything is to be achieved at all.
I presume every Malaysian student here is aware of the political, economic and social situation in Malaysia. Ours is a tender and sensitive nation and is experiencing a transitional era of "Malaysianization". Thus the need for every one of us to pull our weight is one way to do that. Letting the Government know what you think is another. Remember, most if not all of us will have to actually confront the 'facts of life' in our country soon. The 'undesirable' element will not be the one who speaks up his mind and acts for his country's sake; but will be the one who does not know, who does not to care - who does not want to know and consequently does not want to care.
I implore all Malaysian students to take advantage of the relatively liberal environment in New Zealand (and especially at Victoria) to exercise their rights, and voice their opinions. Only by being more articulate will the Malaysian student be able to manifest that he is as concerned about/with current political, social and economic issues in New Zealand, Malaysia and elsewhere. We must prove to others that our capacity to excel is not confined to badminton.
On your behalf of every one who dearly loves his country, I beseech you to get your priorities right. Silence is golden only at funerals. The Government will benefit from a voluminous feedback of public opinion, and what other better way to test the sincerity of Razak's bureaucracy.
(Abridged) Steve T.K. Oh.
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Assuming that Tet's letter was constructive I feel he is being unfair.
After being two years in New Zealand Tet does not seem to realise that in this country even volunteers have their wage scales. Hence, to arrange for any activity on the part of M.S.A. would require money. Financial assistance from the Malaysians is difficult to obtain. But even so some Malaysian Students would expect 'a meal' at each function, not to mention the non-financial members who are willing parasites.
The committee members have since 1968 or earlier, being slaves to the Malaysian Students at every function; who would stay behind to help the cleaning or come earlier to prepare. The committee and others who help are equally desperate to succeed academically, but their rewards are ungrateful criticisms.
Would Tet come forward to suggest a function which would envisage everybody's interests. I am sure we would all welcome his idea. Until then I do not think it feasible to organise such activities as Tet has in mind
Incidently, is Tet aware of the fact that the MSA has had much contact with the NZ public, if this is what he is worried about, and that the MSA has held charity concerts in aid of 'Hunger' or, has Tet accompanied the MSA group to Massey University two weeks back to play in the various matches. Perhaps Tet did not have the fare (which incidently was subsidised by the MSA), if this is so then this August vacation the MSA is organising matches of all kinds in the VUW Gym. I am sure if Tet cannot dance he could at least play or help to umpire.
Let us not be mislead by Tet. His opinion is quite typical of a Malaysian student who demands but is unwilling to contribute, who is heard but refused to be seen. Student apathy is a disease.
Amir Sharifudin Hashim.
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[unclear: e] so-called Malaysian Students Association which is [unclear: anced] by the Malaysian puppet regime will again hold [unclear: eception] for the celebration of the so-called "Malay[unclear: n] National Day." This is truly a farce performed ann[unclear: ly] by a small number of students backed by the pup[unclear: regime]. Should one go to attend such an unpopular [unclear: ational] Day" reception?
[unclear: laysia] is by no means a genuine independent and dem [unclear: atic] state. The so-called Malaysia is nothing but a neo [unclear: ony]. All genuine Malayan students should refuse to [unclear: lackeys] of imperialism and oppose to promote imp [unclear: alism] and lackey mentality. What's wrong with Malay [unclear: National] Day? What is the historical background of [unclear: near]-colony-Malaysia? The following is an abstract [unclear: an] article appeared in New Malayan Youth, [unclear: urnal] of Malayan and Singapore Student Movement, [unclear: bruary] 1972, London:
[unclear: e] Malayan people have a long history of resistance [unclear: d] struggle against foreign domination and local [unclear: reacnary] forces. To confront the ever growing resistance [unclear: Malayan] people, British imperialism resorted to its [unclear: ty] dual policy of 'divide-and-rule' and 'unite-and-rule' [unclear: its] systematic exploitation. Malaya has been made [unclear: e] constant victim of the practice of these subtle [unclear: ts] for Malaya is Britains' largest sterling earner.
[unclear: After] the defeat of Japanese fascists by the Malaya [unclear: ople's] Anti-Japanese Army (Mpaja) in 1945, the [unclear: itish] imperialists realised that the next target in the [unclear: gical] continuation of the struggle of the Malayan peo [unclear: e] for national liberation would be the British them [unclear: ves]..
[unclear: To] meet this eventuality the British resorted to its div [unclear: e-and-rule] policy and fostered the Malayan Union in [unclear: '46] later incorporated into the Federation of Malaya 1948. Singapore was deliberately excluded from [unclear: is] 'Union'. Thus the once single political and economic [unclear: lit] was divided into two. This was vehemently opposed [unclear: the] progressive forces of Malaya as treachery and dis [unclear: rtion] of the Malayan national territorial integrity.
[unclear: After] failing to curb the growing resistance of Malayan [unclear: ople] by covert methods, the British imperialists laun [unclear: ed] a colonial war against Malayan people on June 20, [unclear: 48]. They hoped to uproot Malayan people's ever-grow [unclear: g] movement for national liberation by this sanguinary [unclear: sans]. In the course of the war, the British colonial empire [unclear: as] shaken to its very foundations. They themselves ad [unclear: itted] that the war was to costliest war that they ever [unclear: ught] in their bastardly colonial history.
[unclear: British] imperialism, finding itself isolated and in extreme [unclear: fficulties] was forced to declare 'independence' of the [unclear: ederation] of Malaya on August 31, 1957 in their des [unclear: rate] efforts to safeguard their economic and military [unclear: terests] in Malaya. It substituted a new form of disguis [unclear: e] and indirect colonial rule for the old, undisguised and [unclear: rect] one. Its grip over the Malayan economy remain [unclear: tact]. Till this vary day, 70% of Malayan economy is [unclear: ontrolled] by them.
[unclear: The] 'reign of terror' and brutal political suppression un [unclear: ashed] by the British colonialists from 1948 crippled [unclear: alayan] national liberation movement in terms of rev [unclear: utionarv] and progressive leadership. In its place selec [unclear: d] representatives of the local feudalists and comprad-[unclear: bourgeoisie] were groomed and promoted by the Brit [unclear: n] colonialists. These 'blue-eyed' boys of British colon [unclear: lism] were encouraged to forge an alliance between [unclear: e] three communal parties: UMNO, MCA and MIC. [unclear: was]to this Alliance, led by the moribund Tunku that [unclear: e] British felt safe to hand over political power in 1957 [unclear: nd] to utilise it to disseminate the lie about 'independ [unclear: ce'] in order to lull the people's anti-imperialist strug-[unclear: e].
[unclear: In] Singapore, despite the British imperialist desperate [unclear: tempts] to 'contain' the revolutionary fervour of the [unclear: ople] in Singapore the then militant PAP came into [unclear: ower] with an overwhelming majority via constitutional [unclear: eans] in June 1959, demonstrating the popular will of [unclear: e] people. However, the degeneration of the Lee Kuan [unclear: ew] government, its allegiance and collaboration with [unclear: he] forces of reaction and thus its betrayal of the inter [unclear: ts] of the vast majority of the people of Singapore, in its first year of office led to great dissatisfaction among the majority in the PAP. In spite of Lee Kuan Yew's desperate efforts to suppress them, the growing pressure from the revolutionary forces gathered momentum. At one juncture the Lee Kuan Yew clique had only a majority of one in Singapore Parliament! These developments were watched with grave concern by the Anglo-US imperialists. Their grave concern was expressed by the faithful lackey, Tunku in his speech to the Malayan Parliament in October 1961. "We must prevent a situation in which independent Singapore would go one way and Federation another . . . (if not) some situation would then develop here as we have seen in the past in divided Korea, divided Vietnam and in Laos!."
Throughout South East Asia, new emerging forces which, fostered the militant solidarity and unity of the Afro-Asian countries in their just stand opposed to imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism are daily growing stronger with each passing day. Indonesia, then under Soekarno, was a staunch anti-imperialist country. During the latter part of Soekarno's rule, the imperialists were really shaking in their boots. It was in Indonesia that the historic Bandung Conference which fostered the militant solidarity and unity of the Afro-Asian countries in their just struggle against imperialism was held. People's forces were making big strides in other parts of the region too, particularly in Vietnam and Laos. All these developments, go against the interests of the imperialists in the region! U.S. - led imperialists are already finding themselves in a worst plight in the region.
It was under these circumstances that British imperialism, backed by U.S. imperialism and its instruments, the United Nations of that time, made use of the Rahman clique, the Lee Kuan Yew clique and the reactionaries of Sarawak and Sabah to rig up Malaysia. This plot was, however 'mouthed' in very 'sweet' terms by the local representatives of British imperialism, firstly the moribund Tunku followed by the opportunist par excellence, Lee Kuan Yew. The widely publicised aims of this so called federation was to give 'independence' to Singapore, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak and to extend 'freedom and democracy' to these regions. But the fundamental question to ask is freedom and democracy for whom? It is crystal clear the genuine reason for the creation of Malaysia was to suppress the national liberation movement in the area and thus maintain British colonial interests intact. In more specific terms, the Tunku, in his off guarded moments admitted the real reason for Malaysia is to contain the revolutionary movement in Singapore and achieve a 'mathematical balance' between the major races, the Malays and the Chinese, in a larger political unit. To British imperialism, it was the 'containment of communism' in South East Asia, particularly in Indonesia. In the guise of Malaysia, British imperialism has not only continued its military occupation of Singapore and Malaya, but through the Malaysia agreement, it extended the 1957 Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement to cover all the Malaysian territories and place place them under military occupation. After the establishment of Malaysia with its base in Singapore as the centre, British imperialism planned to forge a chain of military bases in Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah, link with the two Seato member countries, the Philippines and Australia and thus encircle Indonesia and South East Asia and suppress the national movement in these regions. These two sets of interests, i.e. the interest of Rahman (now Razak) Kuan Yew reactionaries and the Anglo-U.S. imperialists are in essence two sides of the same coin.
U.S. imperialism has taken part in all stages and has played a treacherous role in this neo-colonial project of Malaysia. Prior to the establishment of Malaysia, a U.N. fact-finding mission headed by an American named Laurence Michelmore was sent to investigate the wishes of the people in North Kalimantan. This mission refused to allow the Indonesia and Philippines observers to take part in its works thus monopolised the so-called UN 'investigation'. It mispresentad the will of the people of Sabah and Sarawak and helped British imperialism to cover up the deceptive nature of 'Malaysian independence' so as to mitigate local opposition and that of world public opinion. In addition to this, on several occasions, it has sent officials to this area to engage in backstage activities and publicised its intention to 'assist' actively in the early realisation of the project. The U.S. propaganda machine has done its utmost to push the idea of the creation of an anti-communist 'bulwark' in Malaysia and the use of U.S.-British military forces to cope jointly with so-called aggressions from Indonesia, China and North Vietnam. Washington has also dangled the bait of long-term interest free loans before the reactionary Malayan ruling group, openly displayed an increasing interest in the Malaysian market. These facts make it clear that U.S. imperialism wants to use its support for Malaysia to attain its double purpose; to collaborate with British imperialism in suppressing local people's national liberation movements and to replace Britain step by step, plunder the areas rich resources, put it under actual U.S. control and use it as a base of aggression in South East Asia.
The people of Malaya (including Singapore) and North Kalimantan launched strong oppositions to this neo-colonial project. In December 1962, armed uprising broke out in Brunei, Sarawak and parts of Sabah to establish an independent North Kalimantan state and to oppose the Malaysia plot of neo-colonialism. This uprising of the North Kalimantan people delivered heavy blows to the Malaysia project and threw the British imperialists and their stooges into a terrific panic. British troops were hastily airlifted into Brunei from Singapore to suppress the uprisings. The Rahman clique also offered their help for the dirty job of strangulating the Brunei people. Although these uprisings were ruthlessly suppressed by the colonial rulers, the valiant struggle of the North Kalimantan people continues.
During the U.N. 'investigation', British imperialism deployed aircraft carrier warships, helicopters and troops to put the local people under strict control and intimidate them. The North Kalimantan people staged one mass demonstration after another against the neo-colonist Malaysia project. On many occasions, under the very nose of the U.N. team, they battled the troops and policemen sent to prevent them from expressing their will. 22 trade union organisations of Sarawak submitted a joint memorandum to the U.N. team, expressing their firm opposition to the Malaysia project.
Face with opposition from within and without, the neocolonial Malaysia Project was doomed to failure from the very day of its birth. The original plan to maintain a sort of mathematical majority of Malay population in Malaysia was upset by Brunei's last minute withdrawal following the popular rejection of this federation by the Brunei people. Since its formation on September 16, 1963, the Rahman-Razak-Kuan Yew clique were besieged one difficulty after another. Externally it is exceedingly isolated among the Afro-Asian nations. At the same time the contradiction between the reactionary feudal government of the Alliance and the fascist State government of the PAP in Singapore were beginning to show up. This contradiction which found expression in the vulgar indulgence of racial politics internally, together with the principled opposition from Indonesia and legal claim from the Philippines government, led to the disintegration of Malaysia in its original form with the 'expulsion' of Singapore from the federation in August 1965. This is a big blow to Anglo-U.S. imperialism!
The granting of 'independence' by grace of imperialism can never meet the wishes of the people of the North Kalimantan who aspire to national independence. The struggle of the North Kalimantan people for national independence is in complete accord with the principle of national self-determination laid down at the Bandung Conference. As such the Malayan people support the just struggle of the North Kalimantan people for the right to self-determination and oppose any attempt to deny the North Kalimantan people this basic right.