Sabah and Malaya are Different part 1 of 5


A common assumption made by many that people in Sabah is the same as people in Malaya especially the Malays.  This assumption is flawed; I begin to see this problem as I joined the blogging community from Malaya.  I can summarize these differences in their thinking and the way they perceived the people in Sabah – in one word – Condescending.

This is a 5 part series, where we discuss the issues of Sabah Malays, Malaya Malays and role of the Chinese in Malaysian politics.  I am posting in parts please be patient and keep visiting the site for updates or subscribe. Thank you

I was born and raised in Sabah but through Yayasan Sabah, I had the opportunity to learn and live with the people in Malaya.  The many years I spent in Malaya however, has never made me less a Sabahan.  I can blend in with them, I can even talk in their own district lingo, but I can never be one of them.  I believe these experiences have made me a better Sabahan.

The difference I am talking about is simply in the way of life of the people in Malaya and the way of life of the people in Sabah.

This is where the arguments of patrician versus plebeians’ arguments appear.  The Malays are not homogenous they have class structures.  It is in this class struggle that that Malays especially Malaya Malays are being manipulated to serve the political agenda of a few, specifically the new Malay elites.

People the likes of Mahathir usurp the powers of the Malay rulers and then using it as his own to have control over the Malay mass.

He was successfully managing this for 22 years because:

Firstly, the Malays led to believe they are supreme and their position in this country is beyond reproach.  This is a grand illusion through creative manipulation of the Malay psyche to fulfilling his vanity.

Secondly, the Chinese elites are supporting the new Malay elites because it is to their advantage.  This gives rise to a saying that “behind successful Malay stands a smiling Chinese”.

In addition to supporting the Malays, the Chinese elites remain in public eyes as docile.  Nevertheless, far from being subservient the Chinese were manipulating and managing the nation’s economy from behind.

They are the ones identifying, planning, and sometimes running the business and the big business take-over for their Malay counterparts.  This is because Malay is not creative and manipulative in business, therefore they cannot think in the magnitude of the financial scandals that is facing us today.

As a caveat, it is not right to put all the Chinese as Chinese.  The Chinese have so many dialects and comes from different regions in China.  They themselves have different class structures and their society aligned along this structure.  I shall elucidate further on this at the later part of the paper.

This is the one reason; Barisan will maintain its present structure and arrangements.  To dismantle it means they have to throw away 50 years of hegemony and start over.

Unfortunately, for them, this arrangement, which have withstood over 50 years of trials and tribulation is starting to show fatigue and cracks.  After the General Election 12, the cracks are wider and obvious it is not easy to glue them together again because the sacrifices it demands.  This might as well spell the Barisan demise.

This discussion will continue in Sabah and Malaya are Different part 2 of 5 …..

Sabah Sifu

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About sifusiber
A husband & a father who wants his children to have a better future

4 Responses to Sabah and Malaya are Different part 1 of 5

  1. kepayan10 says:

    hallo Sabah sifu,

    I do agree with u that the people of malaya is different from the people of sabah. i have experieced this myself when i studied there. And i beleive that thiers condensing attituted towards us is also partly our fault. We are to be blame for the mess we are in. We may think we are smarter but after 46 years, it is high time to admit that we r not on their league.

    Tell me, for 46 years in Malaysia,.where is the proff that we sabahan r the master of our destiny?? I cant find any! We are a bunch of lembu n deserve no respect from the malayan.

    i do beleive though that the sabahan are army of lions but they r led by lamb and it will remain so for the future. Sabah is doom.

    • sifusiber says:

      Kepayan10, the way I see it, Sabahans are far smarter than the orang Malaya. We are very accommodating and trustful people but our trust and accommodation has been taken for granted and betrayed. I still say we are smart just take a look at 1993 if it was not because of the Sabah counter CASH Berhad, KLSE will not be going anywhere. Look at 1996 is also by Sabah Counter. The two main spike in the Malaysian Capital market. But being smart is also our curse.

      Sabah can lead and propel Malaysia into another economic level. But the Malaya people will not allow that they want to lead even though they know they cannot lead us. It is a question of saving face, to save their face they are will to do everything in their power so that Sabah cannot lead.

      But not just domestically, globally Malaysia is losing competitiveness, the strength in Malaya is insufficient to counteract these challenges. They need the strength from Sabahans and the Sarawakians to face these challenges. The question is how are they going to do that?

      • gurkahsiber says:

        As Alexander the Great was saying “I do not fear an army of lions if they are led by a lamb, I do fear an army of sheep if they are led by a lion”, so Sabahans are the army of sheep (as how the Malaya people perceived them) all they need now is the Lion (that’s Suara Sabah for you)

        • sifusiber says:

          Well I guess sheep is better than lembus

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