(Note) I managed to contact Zaid Ibrahim about his book “I, too, am Malay”. I sent him ten questions and he has so  kindly replied to me in a few days. Although Zaid’s replies are short but they are concise and I thank him for allowing his thoughts to be featured in my blog. I must thank ZI Publications too for this book, which Lori Lee has kindly sent me after my review on Ioannis Gatsiounis Book “Velvet and Cinder Blocks”.

Below is my interview with Zaid on his new book:

[SLOONE] – When you say “Saya pun Melayu”, the word “pun (also)” seem to be intentional to mean that while you are Malay, there are aspects of yourself: ideas, principles, attitudes, actions, and perspectives that separates or alienates you from other Malays. Is that true? If yes, why?

[Zaid] – UMNO has distorted the Malay character, and stereotype them to suit their political ideas. One can be inclusive, liberal, tolerant and believe in the values of a plural and multicultural society and still be a Malay. Hence the word ‘pun” to remind them that there are other Malays who are unlike them.

[SLOONE] – Mahathir wrote the Malay Dilemma when he was expelled from UMNO; and so did you write “Saya pun Melayu” after being sacked from UMNO. This book seem to be a platform, an opportunity for you to rant against a party which you were part of for many years. If you never left UMNO or were expelled from the party, would you have written this book?

[Zaid] – I wrote the book because I want to share my views with other Malaysians on things that I consider important for the country. UMNO is so outdated and dangerous as a political party that I feel necessary to forewarn others of such trend. Not just for UMNO but also for other race based parties that we will jeopardize our future if extreme ideologies rule the day, and we no longer have the capacity to deal with one another properly.

[SLOONE] – A Malay is defined in Article 160(2) of our Constitution of 1957. He speaks Malay habitually, follows Malay customs and professes the Muslim religion. Corruption is a way of life for most politicians and is not supposed to be a Malay custom, nor is it in line with the Muslim religion. Can they still be called Malays?

[Zaid] – A definition is just that a definition. It serves its purpose in the classification of the people of Malaysia as to who are Malays. Whether they want live by that tenet or not ,only they can decide.

[SLOONE] – You seemed to be shocked, at age 42, that you could not win even a low-level UMNO contest without having a “godfather”. Isn’t that a bit naïve to think like that? What did you expect before you joined the party?

[Zaid] – Maybe I was naïve, and with the benefit of hindsight everyone is wiser. But I thought a local party election should be decided by local issues and the service one can offer. Why would an endorsement by the leader necessary escaped me.

[SLOONE] – You said: Hanya dengan ilmu mereka dapat mengatasi kejahilan tentang perkara-perkara asas… Membaca Utusan Malaysia sahaja tidak akan mengembangkan pemikiran mereka…Membaca memang menambah ilmu. Dan ilmu itulah yang akan menukar nilai dan pandangan.Itulah yang memajukan orang Melayu”.

But how do you get the Malays to read something other than Utusan Malaysia? Any suggestions?

[Zaid] – Well Malaysians and Malays don’t read much so that’s why I was urging more people, especially the Malays to read. So their world view and mindset will change for the better. Knowledge is a very powerful liberating force

[SLOONE] – When writing this book, did you plan to present your ideas and stories in such a manner that when non-Malays read this book, it might just erase some of their negative stereotypes of Malays they harbor? Do you observe that non-Malays do indeed have their own prejudices against the Malays which is at times (most) unfair?

[Zaid] – We live in a country quite steeped in prejudices. We do not mix enough nor do we understand enough of one another. The school system, the religious dictates, social norms all add up to make us live separately in a more segregated society. So its good if we can have more communication. I have only a modest hope about my book, that Malays and non Malays realize that they are inextricably linked; that the future is about them getting along well.

[SLOONE] – In the chapter “Masa Depan Melayu” (The Future of Malays) in Part III, you suggests that Malays must not be obsessed with empty slogans like Ketuanan Melayu or ONE Malaysia. The road to Ketuanan Melayu, you write, is not by shouting your lungs out at every gathering, rather through diligence, hard work, and most of all, superior education. Do you still believe then in ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ ?

[Zaid] – I use the term here as meaning the malays as successful people, not as superior to others. I most definitely reject the notion of one race having more rights than others. So it means that if you want people to address as Tuan (Boss) than you have to earn the stripes and work hard.

[SLOONE] – Why is it that Malays always have to explain themselves, or assert themselves (in the case of UMNO, aggressively) although they (as Malays and as a party) are dominant in this country, and enjoy many privileges others do not (Malay Special Rights). You hardly find a Chinese or Indian or even a Kadazan Malaysian saying the same thing: I, too, am Chinese/Indian/Kadazan, etc. What is your comment?

[Zaid] – The Malays are a dominant group and politically powerful. So some people who want to maintain that dominance and secure the support of this important group do so by talking about the Malays. Well I don’t know why the Chinese don’t want to talk about themselves but they should. We should not pretend everything is well on the surface when its not. Malaysians must be assertive, bold and courageous. But not necessarily being combative or looking for a fight. But to assert ones rights yes.

[SLOONE] – Do you think Malays are aware that they may not be able to compete with others on a level playing field, that they constantly feel threatened and insecure that they need to define, redefine, and boast about themselves at all times? Eg. keris wielding and racist ranting techniques at UMNO General Assembly. Or is this just an indoctrination method used by UMNO to hold on to its leadership and dominance in the country?

[Zaid] – The Malays are successful, in all fields. They have shown their worth and their competitive spirit. That’s why I think UMNO is worried . They are relevant only if Malays are still insecure or remain uncompetitive.

[SLOONE] – After reading most of your book, I get the impression that you are attempting to explain yourself, I see reflections of guilt and remorse in some chapters, especially the chapter on Salleh Abbas. I felt deep in your heart that you feel you have been totally misunderstood, and via this book, you try to set the record straight. What do you feel you have achieved after writing this book?

[Zaid] – I have no guilt nor remorse although its true that in lifes long journey one does make mistakes or could have done things differently. Or totally misunderstood. But no guilt or remorse. I hope this small effort of mine will help explain some of the more important events in my not so successful political career

Thank you!

25 responses »

  1. Ho Ho Ho says:

    Ho Ho Ho😀 Good Morning to all and after all we are all Malaysian and happy that this Zaid Ibrahim is one good politician and not a racist and fight for true democracy together with PKR now😀 Ho Ho Ho

  2. whispering9 says:

    The questions are great. And, indeed, very frank and straightforward replies from ZI.

  3. […] PDRTJS_settings_8569_post_5104 = { "id" : "8569", "unique_id" : "wp-post-5104", "title" : "Recommended+reading+for+non-Malays%3A+I%2C+too%2C+am+Malay+by+Zaid+Ibrahim", "item_id" : "_post_5104", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fsloone.wordpress.com%2F2009%2F12%2F23%2Frecommended-reading-for-non-malays-i-too-am-malay-by-zaid-ibrahim%2F" } You can read my interview with him here. […]

  4. monsterball says:

    Zaid Ibrahim law firm is the only one in Asia that is approved with a license to practice law in Australia.
    He gave answers truthfully…and I like the part he asked other races to be bold and speak up about their races short comings…….from an excellent question…. put out by Susan.

  5. v.thiagarajan says:

    “other races to be bold and speak up about their races short comings”

    The first black indian butt that should be kicked is that mic gangster bas*ard sami vellu in rainbow gardens, jln ipoh.

  6. v.thiagarajan says:

    When sami v. dies his body must be fed to dogs.

  7. Pegasus says:

    When sami v. dies his body must be fed to dogs.

    v.thiagarajan – December 23, 2009 at 8:11 am

    dead man samy is still walking..he will die holding the mic president chair.. this bas**d had betrayed the trust the indians had put in his hands.. he cheated them all..!!!

  8. A true Malaysian says:

    I enjoyed very much reading this post. Congratulations to both Susan Loone and Zaid Ibrahim.

    It is very true for Zaid Ibrahim that we should pretend everything is fine. We should speak out our minds. To me, definition of a “Malay” should not be there in the Constitution in the very first place. I feel it is this definition that restrict a Malay’s mindset. The more you comply with this definition, the narrower your mindset is as a Malay.

    I can’t find anywhere else an English, a Chinese, or an Indian are defined in a Constitution. Most probably “Malay” is the only one being defined, I maybe wrong.

  9. A true Malaysian says:

    correct, we should not pretend everything is fine….

  10. ahoo says:

    Thank you Datuk Zaid for your frankness with no air at all ! With you in Pakatan, we have a sense of wellness. We are hopeful that you are able to convince more Malays who are broad minded to join hands with other Malaysians to take this nation back to its former glories. We cannot continue to sit still while the plundering, wastages, corruptions and missing stocks are abound. Even with ” foolproof ” stock system, our national defence weapons are missing. What else is not news to us ?

  11. chow kw says:

    indeed there are only a few honest malaysians left – Zaid Ibrahim is one of them. Today our nation is witnessing a denial syndrome not seen before. Engines missing in 2008 but discovered in 2009. Traitors and traitors shout one minister . Talk is cheap. The punishment for committing treason is severe not terminating the service only> so in BOLEH land. there are plenty of excuses and surprises. Is change possible in Malaysia? YES – lets change the BN government and vote in PAKATAN RAKYAT

  12. HAHAHAHA says:

    “Engines missing in 2008 but discovered in 2009.”

    Surely you meant,

    “Engines missing in 2008 but discovered in Iran in 2009.”

  13. “Engines missing in 2008 but discovered in 2009.”

    Surely you meant,

    “Engines missing in 2008 but discovered in Iran in 2009.”

    HAHAHAHA

    Nice one but Iran is getting camped on by america, its not them to blame is it?

  14. bee says:

    The trouble with such country is that it is governed by hands of a few persons with the CEO voted by a 2000 odd people in a country of 20 odd millions. We are under ‘oligarchy’ close to Zimbawe

  15. Mat Setia says:

    Thank God for Good Man like Datuk Zaid Ibrahim !
    Malaysia will one day be a United Country where all its Citizens will be treated fairly and the laws honoured and where the Rakyat will truly have a say in they way the Country is governed when a Pakatan Government is in place.
    Majority of Malaysians would want to see Zaid Ibrahim in the lead role shaping a New Malaysia free of Mahathir’s type of Racism /Neo-Nazi policy, Free of Discrimination , Free of Judicial Interference ,Free of Blatant Corruption at the highest level and Free of Police and Govt.Enforcement Agencies intimidations.
    REFORMASI !

  16. def says:

    actually he didn’t answer most of the questions.

    How do you get Malays not to read UMNO’s papers? If that doesn’t change, Malaysia has no hope. Simple as that! Reading more but reading UMNO’s papers won’t solve the problem.

  17. wits0 says:

    Def, of course reading UMNO’s papers won’t solve the problem. This compounds the problem – many folds, knowing how sick their stuffs are all the time! Zaid at least speak with sanity. UMNO wants the malays to stay monolinqual so that they remain enslaved to the UMNO press and its intended enslavement.

  18. If Malaysia want to achive equality, the school should introduce the learning of Esperanto language but to forgo the Malay language is a pain in the ass for the UMNO.

    However, it can be made as a selective subject in the school.

  19. kiasu says:

    KalianSawi
    Got This somewhere from the internet..

    LimGuanEngBlog

    Dan tindakan kami mengharamkan Biro Tata Negara (BTN) bertujuan untuk menghapuskan sifat sayangnya Melayu kepada sifat Perkauman ini bakal membuahkan hasil. Silat juga kami akan haramkan di Pulau Pinang seperti kami haramkan BTN, kerana dengan silat inilah Melayu begitu angkuh dan kejadian Pemuda UMNO menjulang keris amat ketara perkauman. Dengan diharamkan silat di Malaysia, kami warga cina dan India akan berasa begitu selamat. Kerana kami mementingkan pendidikan daripada membuang masa.

    LimGuanEngBlog
    Terima kasih dengan sokongan rakyat Malaysia.Sokongan anda amatlah kami hargai untuk memajukan malaysia.Lihatlah di Pulau Pinang, semakin hari semakin banyak dan pesat.Kami mahu jadikan P.Pinang seperti Hong Kong.
    Pembangunan yang dilakukan oleh DAP dan di bantu oleh rakan-rakan Parti Rakyat demi kesejahteraan Malaysia.
    Jatuhkan ketuanan Melayu UMNO demi Perpaduan Rakyat.
    LimGuanEngBlog

    LimGuanEngBlog (8 months ago)
    Sekali lagi saya mahu ingatkan, rahsia tetap rahsia.Kita semakin hampir untuk mentadbir Malaysia.Dan saya tahu, channel saya di dalam youtube hanya dapat dibuka dan hanya boleh dibaca kenyataan saya ini hanya untuk rakan-rakan ahli yang berdaftar sahaja.

  20. kiasu says:

    LimGuanEngBlog
    Salam Sejahtera,
    Taresa kok tidak sepatutnya terburu-buru mengeluarkan kenyataan untuk menghentikan azan,mahukan 30% zakat kepada non muslim dan tulisan jawi.Kenyataan taresa terlalu terburu-buru tanpa persetujuan Ahli parti dan saya sendiri amat kecewa dengan kenyataan beliau.Sepatutnya ini adalah rahsia DAP sehingga Anwar menjadi Perdana Menteri dan waktu itulah kita boleh menekan DS Anwar Ibrahim.Terlalu awal Taresa membuat kenyataan.Dan sekarang Taresa menafikan.Tetapi Taresa terlupa yang semuanya telah tersebar luas didalam blog DAP sendiri dan di internet.
    LimGuanEngBlog

    LimGuanEngBlog (1 year ago)
    page 2/3

    Saya berharap semua Ahli DAP berhati-hati dalam menjalankan gerakan kita.Kita semakin hampir dan DS Anwar Ibrahim tidak boleh berbuat apa-apa.Ingat,gerakan kita ini adalah untuk anak bangsa kita yang selalu dikeji oleh Melayu.Ayuhlah bangun Cina, kuasai dan rebut apa yang melayu tidak mampu.Jangan kita berhutang budi dengan Melayu.Biar mereka yang berhutang dengan kita dan mengenang jasa kita.Kerana dengan itu kita boleh jadikan alasan yang, kita (cina) telah bertukus lumus dalam memajukan Malaysia.Dan kita mungkin dapat menukarkan tulisan Jawi kepada tulisan cina dan yang berkaitan dengan Melayu dan Islam.Seterusnya Melayu sudah tidak mempunyai apa-apa lagi.Disaat mereka berpecah itulah kita akan dapat mengambil alih tampuk kepimpinan daripada orang Melayu.
    LimGuanEngBlog

    LimGuanEngBlog (1 year ago)
    page 3/3

    Sekali lagi saya mahu ingatkan, rahsia tetap rahsia.Kita semakin hampir untuk mentadbir Malaysia.Dan saya tahu, channel saya di dalam youtube hanya dapat dibuka dan hanya boleh dibaca kenyataan saya ini hanya untuk rakan-rakan ahli yang berdaftar sahaja.
    Sekian,Terima Kasih

    ——-
    Apparently LGE has his own YouTube channel which is accessible only for certain ‘members’ and while promoting his Malaysian Malaysia, he is quietly trying to kill the Malays?

    F him!

  21. pluto says:

    monsterball’s comments not wanted

  22. rebena says:

    umno just can not fight corruption and power abuse…

    which federal gomen departments not involved into corruption ??????????????????????????????????????????

    we trust PR led state government had been improved accountability and reduce major Corruption..

  23. JEFFRY BONG says:

    It is the ruling BN on the loosing side who does how to appreciates and utilise such talents.He is totally different from the broods whose thinking and plans for the country is different from the rest.He will make a good leader anyway he is succesful in his own right .

  24. Meera says:

    Zaid you appear to be a fair person. Now that you have joined PKR you have a lot of work to do to tear down the walls of divide. You will truly make a good leader and you should rightfully be the leader of the opposition.

  25. Zain Hamzah says:

    Dato’Zaid.The very tenet of democratic future was seriously at stake when acts of corruption were blatantly seen to be done.Millions saw this performed right in front of their eyes.I am sure even MACC has something to say. about acts that tend to tarniish democratic electioins.Corruption games”being “staged and dramatised” during the Hulu Selangor by-election! could be become precedents to future democratic elections. Like hundreds, may thousands and tens of thousands of loyal Malaysians who want to ensure democratic principles are adhered to during elections,congratulate you for deciding to file petition on the outcme of the by- election.

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