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Saturday, 15 June 2013 09:02

Kacang lupakan kulit: Between Najib's brother & the Umno hardliners
Written by Tay Tian Yan

I met a relatively open-minded senior leader from Umno during a dinner the other day. He confessed that an undercurrent is currently brewing within Umno and the rightists are all out to exploit the general election results into racial issues in the run-up to the party elections. Which is absolutely not a good thing for inter-community relationships while exerting pressure on the more moderate and open-minded factions within the party. In the latest incident, Nazir Razak was slammed by right-wing NGOs and former information minister Zainuddin Maidin as kacang lupakan kulit. A notable figure in the business world, Nazir is the CEO of CIMB and the younger sibling of the prime minister. He has earlier commended AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman Rani as a great leader. If we were not that forgetful, we should recall that this Azran was critical of Utusan Malaysia's headline story "Apa lagi Cina mahu?" for being racist. So, these two Malay gentlemen have now become the kacang that lupakan kulit. I discover that the reasoning behind these rightists is pretty straightforward. Anyone disagreeing with Malay supremacy is a pariah, and if the person is a Malay himself, then his crime is doubled, "kacang lupakan kulit" in more minor cases and "traitors" in more severe ones.

After Azran hit out at Utusan and Perkasa, he immediately found himself constantly under assault, including a reminder that without the patronage of the government's racial policies, he would not have achieved this much today. A successful Malay always has this burden laden upon his shoulders as if his accomplishment is attributed wholly to the government's policies. As a matter of fact, branding successful fellow Malays like Azran and Nazir as traitors is both unacceptable and disparaging. Their achievements have been a result of their own capabilities and hard work, proving that Malays not necessarily need special privileges or patronage to excel. Azran was made AirAsia X chief by virtue of his experience in a multinational consulting firm upon graduation from Stanford, all through his own hard work and wisdom, not the NEP. In a similar manner, Nazir's achievement has been a result of his own effort, not because he is Najib's younger brother or Tun Razak's son. Since he took over CIMB, Nazir has injected the meritocracy spirit into the group, put together multiracial teams, established regional and even global insights to make CIMB one of the top financial institutions in Malaysia with branches in several regional cities as well. Many Malay entrepreneurs and professionals that have become successful through their own effort hate being called beneficiaries of the government's special privileges, because they are well aware such privileges and government patronage will not last forever and are most definitely not anything they should take pride in. So they oppose the NEP and racist policies as these will only debilitate the Malay race in the long run. Nazir has been a chronic advocate of economic liberalisation and staunch critic of the NEP, supporting a new economic model irrespective of race. He is much adored by the business circle and moderate Malays but is frowned upon by right-wing Malay chauvinists. Malaysia needs more of capable, self-confident Malays so that the country can achieve broader national unity and modernisation and compete globally. - Sin Chew Daily