Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ketuanan Melayu & Ketuanan Emirati

UMNO is still harping on Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) after ruling the nation over 50 years. This UMNO's cry is again heard after the recent election fiasco, dubbed as political tsunami with BN's 2/3 majority in parliament wiped out for the first time.

In a simple conclusion, UMNO has lost badly and is trying to play with Malay emotions for getting back the support. Ketuanan Melayu is synonymous with UMNO however, unfortunately to the Malays, its leaders have abused this ketuanan for their own benefits for long time.

Ketuanan Melayu does not equate with Malay identity. We are going for bangsa Malaysia and Ketuanan Rakyat shall be a better way forward.

Here in UAE with the bumiputera (local arabs or EMIRATIs) population is merely 20% of total population, the 'ketuanan Emirati' shall be more relevant and critical. The UAE is one of the few countries in the world where foreigners outnumber nationals by a seven-to-one ratio.

Yet despite this severe imbalance in the demographics, the UAE maintains a strong national identity. However, many are rising in unity to demand a stronger preservation of their culture. It was a big conference yesterday to discuss openly on challenges in preserving UAE national identity.

One of the panels, Shaikh Abdullah said tolerance and openness of the UAE's foreign policy have enhanced its speciality and helped turn the country into a model for an Arab, Muslim nation confident of its identity.

With the current developments, UAE is at the cross-road whereby UAE must admit that the imbalance in the population structure is a huge challenge. As proposed by Dahi who is Dubai Police Chief, it requires long term, medium term and short term strategies to reduce foreign workers from any single country to not more than 25 per cent of the UAE population

Dahi regarded as treason the illegal practice of some Emiratis who deal in visas and bring in foreign workers who do not have real jobs.

"These people are traitors ... they cannot be called Emiratis ... They are worse than the brothers of the Prophet Joseph (PBUH), who cast him in the well.

Protecting national identity

The UAE treats its population of mixed nationalities with tolerance as part of its commitment to globalisation as it has a mix of cultures with around 200 nationalities in the UAE, and they coexist in peace.

However, this mix should not affect UAE national identity. Important in making clear that a vital part of making the tolerant UAE work well was for the government to maintain and support the UAE people's own sense of who they are, which is clearly challenged by the large numbers of expatriates in the country.

The community profile [meaning the mix of nationalities in the UAE] is a problem but Emiratis cannot isolate themselves from their surroundings. Emiratis need to work to maintain their identity.

'Social instability'

Other speakers discussed various angles on the emotive issue of protecting the national identity, but none was more outspoken than Maj Gen Dahi Khalfan, Dubai Police Chief.

He deplored the substantial proportion of foreigners in the country, showing pictures of burnt-out buses and shops to illustrate the effects of labour riots in the UAE.

Speaking out against the dangers of social instability created by large foreign minorities, he said, "The biggest challenge to national security is the immigration of large numbers of people. The UAE is at a crossroads."

He spoke in favour of changing the demographic balance so that no nationality is more than 25 per cent of the total population of the country.
During a debate, Shaikh Abdullah disagreed with the comments made by Maj Gen Dahi, saying, "We live in an open and tolerant country. Despite what Dahi said it is the richer with all these elements."

The Emiratis have spoken out on their concerns of great demographic imbalance. Their ketuanan is under threat, if not already so.

Looking at bigger picture, this is an opportunity for Malaysians to fill up the expatriat quota as some nationalities (esp from subcontinent) will be reduced in number. Bring those unemployed graduates to roam the job markets or business opportunities.

And we do not talk about bringing our KETUANAN MELAYU!

Last but not least, so what does it mean to be an Emirati?
"To be the son of this country and to know that this is the land my father and grandfather kept for us," one Emirati says.
(The typical impression however something like, "Rakyat yang kaya, mewah, tidak perlu bekerja, malas, mesti ada villa besar, Toyota Landcruiser, Merc, BMW, ganas di jalanraya dan suka membazir...."

No comments: