Only in Malaysia can one's race be changed through legal means. But this does not make it any less of a shock to read about civil servants reclassifying native children in Sarawak as Malays.
Not too long ago, the National Registration Department created quite a stir when some members of its staff decided on their own to determine the faiths of people applying for their identification cards.
This is a worrying trend, not only to the natives of Sarawak, but to the rest of Malaysian society as well.
Increasing the number of Malays through under-handed tactics such as these is a step towards changing Malaysia into a mono-ethnic nation.
Malaysia has always been proud of calling itself a multiracial country, and it is one of the qualities that make it interesting to outsiders.
If we deny our country its multicultural character, we take away one good reason for foreigners to visit us, and the slogan “Malaysia Truly Asia” would become meaningless.
This trend is of particular concern to non-Malays. If it continues, animosity between the races will probably get worse and efforts towards national unity will become more difficult.
It will also speed up the brain drain, as more non-Malays leave our shores for countries that have more respect for their identities.
Race reclassification will also lead to the decay of the customs and culture of the affected groups as they will be hindered from practising them.
Those opposing the long rule of the Taib Mahmud administration can use the latest cases as a trigger-off point in his dethroning.
The Najib administration, which has been trying hard to sell the 1Malaysia idea, ought to be ashamed.
The silence on the part of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is Education Minister as well, boggles the mind.
When he finally speaks, he is likely to defend his officials, as he has done in the past over other issues. Nevertheless, we expect immediate action from him.
In the international arena, Malaysia’s ranking on the religious freedom scale will slide further. This is because race and religion in our country are tightly intertwined.
Taken from Free Malaysia Today
‘Melayu’ native kids: Ministry in the dark
Native kids being classified as 'Melayu'