Johor Opposition Leader Boo: Bumiputraism = Apartheid

He say wrong meh? Apartheid was once the rule in South Africa, but today even Chinese in South Africa are considered ‘African Bumiputera’.

African Bumiputra

From The Star 27 Feb 2009:

Opposition leader Boo causes a stir at assembly

JOHOR BARU: State Opposition leader Dr Boo Cheng Hau caused quite a stir at the state assembly after he equated “bumiputraism” with the South African apartheid policy which discriminated against non-whites.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who was visibly annoyed with Dr Boo’s choice of word, said that the state assemblyman was merely using the comparison to seek public attention.

“To me, his aim is to provoke negative feelings within some of the members of the public by using such terms in the assembly. It is very provocative,” he said.

In his 15-minute speech, the Skudai assemblymen alleged that some banks, in charging different interest rates to bumiputra and non-bumiputras were practising discrimination.

He said that the interest rates were differentiated according to member (bumiputra) and non-members (non-bumiputras).

“The non-bumiputras are charged a higher interest rate without taking into account their socio-economic status,” he said.

Dr Boo, who previously studied in Jamaica for five years, also said that the worse apartheid aspect was that socio-economic, education, cultural and language were based on “ketuanan” or “kebumiputraan”.

Abdul Ghani explained that certain banks such as Bank Rakyat that operated as a cooperative, gave better benefits to members compared to non-members.

“There is some differences there and coincidentally, the bank practises the syariah way of doing business,” he said, adding that there were also Malays who were non-members and they did not enjoy the benefits given to members.

Abdul Ghani explained that “ketuanan” carried the meaning of the owner (tuan) of the land that is the King (Raja Melayu).

“When the British left Malaya, which was their colony, they returned it to the owner (tuan) of the land that is the King,” he said, adding that the term “ketuanan” did not carry political elements.

As for Abdul Ghani’s attempted explanation that is pretty much run of the mill, one can easily see whether or not the term ‘ketuanan’ is emotionally powerful by turning the tables in this exercise:


Does the above hypothetical scenario make you feel offended? Incensed? Upset? That’s how some people feel about the Ketuanan concept, as is apparent from Dr. Boo’s appeal.

I say, if you would be offended by it yourself, don’t do it to others!

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4 Responses to “Johor Opposition Leader Boo: Bumiputraism = Apartheid”

  1. jeg Says:

    why are you fighting for the politicians? you know that the malay rights are enshrined in the Perlembagaan and its hard fighting for.

    come on man. what we need is the then peaceful Malaysia.

    Please concentrate on bringing Malaysia out of economic downturn. This coffeeshop politics is too much already!

  2. Scott Thong Says:

    I don’t question Malay rights, but I seriously think that Malaysia’s long term economic, social and national success depends firmly upon:

    1) Skilful, clean and altruistic leadership (instead of self-absorbed power plays)
    2) Meritocracy (instead of non-performers being pushed up in the place of performers)
    3) Encouraging advancement (instead of cradle to grave coddling)
    4) Effective and efficient spending (instead of massive wastage on pet projects and graft)
    5) Equality for all under the law (instead of double standards based on descent, religion, political affiliation, wealth, connections and influence)

    That’s what I’m fighting for. If the problems I mention above are not addressed, they will eventually destroy what semblance of peace Malaysia has entirely.

    Do you disagree?

  3. jeg Says:

    I understand your principles but what about its practicality?

  4. Scott Thong Says:

    At this current time? It’s a total pipe dream.

    Those with special privileges will not easily surrender them (and who would, really?).

    There is too much fear among those concerned that removing the crutches will result in a complete headlong fall. So those crutches cannot easily be removed, even if jumping forward is impossible as long as they are clung to.

    Those in power have too much control to have it wrested from them.

    The culture of corruption is too ingrained to quickly wash out, especially when the prevailing attitude is “If I don’t do it, someone else will get the benefit anyway”.

    The unequal laws will not be addressed when certain parties view them as being perfectly fair, and in fact, better than what is deserved!

    Therefore, as I have mentioned before, I don’t see much real and meaningful change happening anytime soon. Even if Pakatan Rakyat were to sweep into power with more than 67% support, things won’t change much. But I view that as the first of many steps away from a static, monolithic past.

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