SINGAPORE, July 30: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's assumption that Malays in Singapore had failed and their neighbouring Malays should take lesson from their plight has not impressed a Singaporean daily.
Right: An Islamic school cum mosque in the Aljunied district in Singapore
The republic's Malay daily Berita Harian in an editorial said Malay-Muslims in
“We do not believe in being spoon-fed or being too dependent on the government - in other words, we do not have a crutch mentality,' wrote editor Guntor Sadali.
Guntor said Singapore Malays believed that a community with such a mentality would soon become a “two M” community, which stands for ‘manja’ (spoilt), and ‘malas’ (lazy).
“We definitely do not want to be labelled as a pampered and lazy community,” he said, adding that the Malay community in the island raised their own funds to build Islamic schools, mosques and other community properties.
“Now, what could have happened to the Malays here in the last four decades? What could have driven Dr Mahathir to voice his concern and to caution the Malaysian Malays? I wonder,” he added.
'Knowledge is power'
The paper however noted that Mahathir could be referring to the political power of Singapore Malays.
For the Malay minority there, power is not about wielding the keris, but is about being equipped with knowledge, the paper adds.
“Malay children here attend the same schools as other Singaporeans with a shared aim - to obtain a holistic education and, of course, achieve good examination results,” the editorial went on, adding that while it was tough for the community yet like all others, it left them with no choice but to work hard.
“There is certainly no short cut to success,” Guntor said.
He said the island state's meritocracy system pushed Malays to work harder, and cited the increasing number of professionals and corporate leaders among the community as proof of their success.
He said the Malays would not want to achieve success any other way, and said Singapore Malays were proud of their self-reliance, unlike their northern brethren.
“We may wear the same clothes, eat the same food, speak the same language and practise the same culture. However, the similarities end there.
“Shouldn't our friends and relatives across the Causeway be like us – Malays in Singapore?” asked Guntar.