08 December 2016
Once again, race and religion dominated the recent United Malays National Organisation (Umno) General Assembly last week, as did the Malaysian ruling party’s feudal political culture. Key party leaders extolled the importance of loyalty to the Prime Minister, as a way to fight off various threats to the Malay race and Islam.
Umno runs on a patronage system where its politicians are feudal lords dispensing favours to their local communities, in this case, the Malays. In return, the Malays are expected to be loyal to the party and support them politically.
The concept of being grateful is deeply ingrained within the Malay psyche, which means that any favour done for person must never be forgotten and must be repaid in the future.
The logic of this argument is that Malays have the moral responsibility to support Umno as a sign of gratitude for its defence of the community against threats posed by non-Malays, namely the Chinese.
… Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman is assistant professor and coordinator of the Malaysia Programme in S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and Aida Arosoaie is a senior analyst at the Malaysia Programme, RSIS.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 08/12/2016