The Namewee Video – What Khairy says

This is a racist video? Not even close. Watch it. This is what Khairy had to say on the matter:

“We have tolerated a lot of things but when the insult is too blatant, the time has come for those who did so to be taken a stern action,” he told reporters after visiting Kota Baharu Umno Youth chief Rosmadi Ismail here Tuesday night.

“The Malays are not being overly sensitive. We have in fact tolerated a lot of things,” he said.

Really? Khairy, your definition of racism seems to be quite selective. When your ex-boss said this, did you agree with him? You were sitting just a few feet away. Maybe you even helped him write the speech. Let me refresh your memory:

Hisham_Keris.jpegEDIT: Khairy Jamaluddin blogs about Namewee on Will read it and respond shortly.

EDIT2: After reading KJ’s blog, the part of Namewee’s video that he has a problem with deals with Namewee’s assertion that Malaysia is rich because of the Chinese. 

In the ‘song’, which begins with him colourfully expressing his disdain for racists, Namewee exposes himself as the racist when he says “You tak baca? Siapa buat Malaysia kaya?”, the implication being that the Chinese are the reason for Malaysia’s prosperity and as such Malays like Siti Inshah have no business asking the Chinese to ‘return’ to China.

First of all, i would suggest that KJ and anyone else who finds this offensive, read up on a particularly seminal piece of work called “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith. Perhaps as an Oxford graduate, KJ has heard of this.

In it, Adam Smith defines the wealth of a nation as “the annual produce of the land and the labour of the society”. In popular terms, wealth thus defined refers to how much of something of value that is owned — and the accumulation of this value, aggregated across the people of a country, determines it wealth or its “kekayaan”. 

Its arguable, of course, who controls the wealth of Malaysia. While everyone contributed to the creation of wealth and/or relative prosperity of the nation, the question we need to ask is who owns a majority of it. The fact that Malay ultras such as PERKASA, and even UMNO Youth, have argued that the 30% equity quota needs to be retained in the hands of Malays begs the argument that if the Malays need help to “own” their own country, then the wealth of the nation is not necessarily controlled by them. 

So while, as a Malay, its stinging to hear that “You tak baca? Siapa buat Malaysia kaya?“, i’m realistic enough to realize that if left to the devices of the Malays alone, the nation could very well be a much poorer place. Of course, that’s speculatory, but reverse engineer the results of what we see in today’s economy and its hard to see how the Malays, perhaps due to our own cultural values, would be able to compensate for the effort of the other races. As it is, we can’t even compete with them on a pure merit basis (or at least this is what my Malay leaders are telling me).

Secondly, unlike KJ and the other sensitive Malays out there, why take offence (if offence was meant) when you can draw motivation from it all. So what, a Chinese rapper makes fun of me and my Malay brothers and sisters? I’ll show you what we can really do! The suggestion that the Malays were carried to prosperity on the backs of the Chinese should not offend me — it should give me pause to realize that if i haven’t done enough, perhaps i need to try harder.

That’s the real message our Malay leaders should be spreading — appeal to our sense of shame, stoke our pride, push us to be better citizens, more productive citizens, save more of our money rather than spend it on lavish Hari Raya gatherings, generate wealth through real investments and not fall prey to silly get-rich-quick schemes. 

And, while we’re at it, grow a thicker skin. 

Lastly, most importantly, and let this be an eye-opener to those who haven’t considered it before — racism is an ideology. Its bad, nasty and unwanted. But if history has thought us anything, fighting ideologies with threats of “punishment” or physical distress such as imprisonment or fines, is just counter-productive and ineffective.

Khairy Jamaluddin is a senior Malay leader. When such a person calls for the punishment of a Chinese boy on the grounds of racism, how do you think the Chinese are going to think (especially among them who share or are at least sympathetic to Namewee’s views)? By fighting an ideology with fire, you’re just stoking the flames ever higher. You’re validating their claims that the Malays are indeed racist, do indeed have thin skins. 

The battle of ideologies was never won through the persecution of its bishops. Nelson Mandela and Robben Island. Gandhi in 1922. The Prophet Muhammad. You don’t put down an idea through the use of heavy handed tactics. You do it through the fostering of a competitive idea.

If i was in KJ’s shoes this is what i’d do.

I’d invite Namewee to engage in a dialogue with me. In private, if being in public is too much. I’d let the people know that i wanted to meet him, but i won’t tell them exactly we talked about. During this meeting, sans lawyers or any fear mongers (he can bring his friends with him if he wants), i’ll talk to him to understand where he’s coming from. Why did he say the things he did. Does he understand that what he did could inflame the sentiments of the people? If he is as much as a patriot as he says he is, what does he think we should do to fight racism. 

Take their bishop and turn him to your side, if possible. If not, then engage him in dialogue and, though disagreeing with him, respect his right to opinion. 

If nothing else, this gesture will show the nation that a modern, moderate Malay leader isn’t like all the rest — not the ultras like PERKASA, not even the knee-jerk Malay on the street. 


10 thoughts on “The Namewee Video – What Khairy says

  1. I am impressed. Whilst everyone else is fiddling with their violins whilst the flames are consuming everything in its path, a lamp post of calmness stands out.
    Like the Tunku, my favorite historical leader (I waited in front of the Dialysis unit of KLGH as he breathed his last) of Malaya/Malaysia, we need more leaders who will stand up and do what’s right for the country and not race/religion. No comment on race, but if one believes in religion, surely your maker is all powerful and can defend and nurture his religion without your help.
    Thank you for your clear-headed discourse. I m sure KJ would agree that there is too much excesses goin on, but in public he has to wear a mask to protect his position and his future position.
    Thank you for being a breath of fresh air. The Race will survive too, it has survived for the last 600 years.


  2. The value of a nation is found in the Intellectual prowess of its citizens. To this day I have not been given enough evidence to say that one race is intellectually inferior to any other. Currently in all our interaction with the outside world we exchange our natural resources at low values for the premium values of the expertise of the outsiders. When we stop thinking the Malays are weaker or the Malaysians are weaker then we can stand up tall as a nation. We have been taught that we are weaker but that is not fact. That is ideology as you say and its a false ideology.


  3. Thanks, watchdog.
    However, i have no idea if i would be able to express my thoughts as clearly as with English. My command of BM is reasonable but probably just a tad shy of being good enough.


  4. I agree with your points, but I also share the same view with Bob when it comes to Khairy. Somehow I see Khairy’s response to the Namewee affair as being something that he’s forced to do, especially with his history of acting in the same video with Namewee for the 15Malaysia project – and how that could be used by his political enemies within UMNO. The truth is, the majority of people in UMNO – especially loyal supporters of Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Najib – do not trust Khairy as someone who would fight for the “Malay cause” (as they define it – which actually means the ultra-Malay cause). This has been Khairy’s nightmare even during Pak Lah’s time. Khairy has to try and balance the audience within UMNO and also the liberals outside UMNO. It’s always tricky when UMNO is involved. It’s far worse when you’re Khairy. At least that’s my observation.


  5. Azam,
    I suppose its easy for us to judge Khairy, since we’re not in his shoes. Political survival is his bread and butter, and if that means sacrificing consistency in character, then so be it.
    However, that does say a lot of Malaysia as a nation if we’ve sunk so low that we need to become apologists for our leaders.
    I know its hard. But it really shouldn’t be easy, and i don’t intend to make it any easier if i see something, even if from my high perch, that i don’t like.


  6. Your article has given me interesting insights with regard to the intended message in the video.
    Unfortunately racism exists in our society; it’s just that few voice their feelings.
    It’s a sad day that pengetuas who should know better have said things that tear the fragile fabric of racial harmony in our country and planted seeds of disharmony in young minds.


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