SUARAM’s Latest Publication “Race and Racial Discrimination in Malaysia: A Historical and Class Perspective” by Dr Kua Kia Soong

Racism & Discrimination in Malaysia: A Historical and Class Perspective
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At last! The elephant in the room is not only acknowledged but caringly examined from trunk to tail by Malaysian social scientist Kua Kia Soong.

This is the first in-depth expose of racism & racial discrimination in Malaysia, written from a historical and class perspective. It forces the nation to confront once and for all the ‘Bumiputera agenda’ which has been implemented with impunity since the New Economic Policy in 1971. These discriminatory policies fail to meet the standards of international conventions and continue to stymie Malaysia’s goal of achieving high-income status by 2020.

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This book is about the politics of race and class in Malaysia, highlighting the structural conditions that enable the crude manipulation of race to serve the economic interests of the ruling elite. The chapters on the Emergency contain declassified documents from the British Public Records Office, which were made available after the 30-year secrecy rule was lifted. The author offers alternatives that are needs based and thus race-free by doing away with such discriminatory policies, rent-seeking activities and patronage politics.

CONTENTS

Foreword by Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy, Former UN Special Rapporteur

INTRODUCTION: RACISM & RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

  • The politics of race & class
  • Legacy of British divide-and-rule strategy
  • Authoritarian populism of the Malaysian state
  • Racist threats during UMNO power struggles
  • Racism outsourced to Malay supremacist groups
  • The ‘Bumiputera/Immigrant’ conceptual trick
  • Do Malays have special “rights”?
  • The Umno elite and their statistical charade
  • Malaysia’s crony capitalism
  • Institutional obstacles to attaining high-income status
  • Affirmative action based on need not race
  • Non-discriminatory basis of the federal constitution
  • The world community outlaws racism & racial discrimination

Chapter 1: PRE-COLONIAL MALAY SOCIETY

  • Who was here first?
  • Malay feudal mode of production
  • Contradictions in traditional Malay society
  • European mercantilism

Chapter 2: BRITISH COLONIAL DIVIDE-AND-RULE

  • From mercantilism to imperialism
  • Malay resistance to British intervention
  • Colonial backing of the Malay ruling class
  • Promoting the ‘special position of the Malays’
  • Malay Reservations Enactment
  • Discrimination against rubber smallholders
  • Growth of the working class
  • Radicalization of the working class
  • Non-Malay commercial class
  • Specific communalist colonial policies

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Chapter 3: NON-RACIAL ANTI-COLONIAL MOVEMENT

  • Making of the Malayan workers’ movement
  • The radical Malay intelligentsia
  • Japanese Occupation: Brutal communalism
  • Post-war workers’ struggles
  • The Malayan Union and the politics of communalism
  • The Federation of Malaya proposals
  • The Peoples’ Constitutional Proposals
  • Prelude to the revolt: Reaction

Chapter 4: EMERGENCY & THE ‘RACIAL’ FORMULA

  • Imperialist stake in Malaya
  • The ‘Emergency’: 1948-60
  • Communalist tactics against the guerrillas
  • Crafting the ‘Alliance Formula’
  • Civil rights compromised
  • Dato Onn’s communalist politics
  • MERDEKA: The communal formula enshrined

Chapter 5: UMNO’S RURAL COMMUNALIST STRATEGY

  • The neo-colonial economy
  • The peasantry
  • Peasant differentiation
  • The state’s rural communalist strategy
  • State intervention in the rural sector

Chapter 6: MALAYSIA: LARGER COMMUNAL EQUATION

  • The neo-colonial solution in Singapore
  • Sarawak and Sabah in the racial equation
  • The bigger communalist pond
  • Struggle within the Malay ruling class
  • May 13: Coup against the Tunku

Chapter 7: NEP – INSTITUTIONAL RACISM

  • BN: Larger communal formula
  • Racial discrimination institutionalized
  • The 1974 general election
  • New Economic Policy
  • Dominance of metropolitan capital
  • From import-substitution to export-orientation
  • Workers’ struggles since Independence

Chapter 8: THE STATE & SOCIAL CLASSES IN THE SEVENTIES

  • Contradictions within the ruling coalition
  • Accommodating the non-Malay capitalists
  • Growth of the Malay middle class
  • The working class
  • Conflict with metropolitan capitalists
  • Super-exploitation of workers and women
  • State repression and communalism

Chapter 9: MAHATHIR & THE CREATION OF PRIVATE MALAY CAPITAL

  • Mahathir’s authoritarian populism
  • Sensational financial scandals
  • Privatisation and the new Malay capitalists
  • Favoured Bumiputera capitalists
  • Favoured non-Bumiputera capitalists
  • Petronas – the cash cow
  • A racist legacy
  • Restructuring of the Malaysian working class
  • Islamic populism

Chapter 10: RACISM & RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN MALAYSIA TODAY

  • Back to crony capitalism
  • UMNO outsources racism to the far-right
  • Post-GE13: Bumiputera policies with a vengeance
  • Heightened Islamic populism
  • Institutional racism
  • Racist indoctrination in state institutions
  • Racism against ethnic Indians
  • Racism against indigenous peoples
  • The state, ruling class and communalism
  • Class differentiation in Malaysia today
  • State repression and communalism

CONCLUSION: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BASED ON NEED NOT RACE

  • The struggle for greater democracy

APPENDIX: THE WAY FORWARD

  • Outlaw racism, racial discrimination & hate crimes
  • Never too late for truth & justice
  • Non-racial alternatives to national development