THE COMMUNITIES AND THE CONSTITUTION
by R.B. Ooi
A year ago the Malayan Democratic Union came into being with the aim of creating a Malayan political party to work for representative self-government in Malaya. Because it admitted into its ranks Malayans of all types, it was suspected of leftist tendencies as it had among its members many who belonged to the Communist Party.
The party was not taken seriously in Singapore but in the Malayan Union it soon a gained large number of adherents. The MDU has got out to crystallise the idea that lies in the minds of all true Malayans – identification with the country.
The Malayan citizenship question has thrown into bold relief the main purpose of the MDU, which has now felt it time to go into action. Accordingly it has sponsored a Council of Joint Action to fight Federation proposals which have been drawn up without consultation with the domiciled communities.
The communal trouble that occurred in certain parts of the Union some months back were looked upon by some as inspired by those who wished to divide the country into communal units, and alienate them from the idea of a union of all Malayan peoples.
At the first anniversary of the MDU, Mr. Tan Cheng Lock put his finger on the main point when he said: “We have set a movement afoot aiming at winning our freedom by making Malaya one country and one nation, with a common destiny for all its peoples animated by a spirit of brotherhood and active cooperation for mutual benefit in all spheres of life. There is no other alternative if we Malayans of all races are intent upon facing realities and securing the supreme political good of liberty and justice.”
So much political thunder was stolen by the UMNO six months ago that the Malay Nationalist Party which seceded from it, has not come into great prominence. The MNP has, however, weaned away from UMNO a large number of the latter’s followers partly because of Dato’ Onn’s appointment as Dato Mentri Besar, Johore, but largely because the authorities ignored the Malay masses when the Federation proposals were being drawn up.
There has been sufficient feeling among the Malay peasants against the perpetuation of the privileges enjoyed by the Sultans and the Malay aristocracy that some of them have toyed with the idea of forming a third party – the Malay Communist Party. Their contention is that the Sultans and the datohs have done nothing to better their lot.
The M.N.P. is more realistic in that it realizes the necessity of co-operating with the domiciled communities, whom the UMNO on the other hand regards as interlopers out to dominate the country.
These twin moves, the growth of strength of the Malayan Democratic Union and the break away from the UMNO, are possibly the most significant political development in this country since the liberation, and it is especially interesting that the leading Malay paper, the influential “Utusan Melayu” itself should have questioned a few days ago the right of the UMNO to claim that it is fully representative of all Malays. In its columns too have appeared readers’ views asserting that that body “represents only the Sultans and the Malay aristocracy, and that its object is to restore the privileges of the Sultans and the aristocracy as they were in 1940.”
The UMNO is entitled, of course, to its policy, but to say the least it is a matter of opinion whether it can in fact lay claim to be fully representative, or whether its policy is designed to bring together not only the Malays but the non-Malay domiciled communities whose interest in the future constitution of Malaya and in its advance towards self-government is not less than that of the Malays.
Everything that has happened in the past few months has emphasised not merely the desirability but the necessity of all the communities reaching a common viewpoint on these immense matters of common interest. That is the principle behind the Committee of Joint Action formed not alone in Singapore, but in the Union. The whole question is one of Pan-Malayan interest, and of inter-community responsibility, and to think along any other lines is to wander along jungle trails that lead nowhere.
Sumber: Akhbar The Malaya Tribune, 17 Dis 1946
Rabu, September 05, 2007
THE COMMUNITIES AND THE CONSTITUTION