Zaid Ibrahim: The Rise Of The “Neo-Malays”

The neo-Malays are the “new Malays”. They are younger than me and the members of G25, and some are seriously wealthy, although we don’t know how they earned their money or whether it was inherited. They also have a serious mission in mind, which is to change the world and to do it as Muslim warriors. But to do that, they first have to take power.

This past New Year’s Eve some 50,000 of them gathered at Dataran Merdeka. Led by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and other well-known personalities such as Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, they held what I believe was a prayer session and sang praises to God Almighty and the Prophet Muhammad.

My liberal (and religious) Malay friend Datuk A sent me a photograph of the event. The men were dressed in robes, serban and skull caps, and they were all doing a salute with their clenched fists, not unlike how the Nazis used to salute their Fuhrer.

Now that was something else, and it worries me.  Is this a new brand of Malay power?  It certainly is different from Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s brand.  Najib loves to celebrate New Year , just like you and me , except that he does it in his inimitable style ( he is after all seriously wealthy).

I guess the Dataran celebration by Zahid marks a new path for the country. It shows that when he comes to power, most probably our politics and our New Year celebrations will drastically change as well. The very idea of it should send a chill through all our spines.

Why were the neo-Malays celebrating a Gregorian New Year in the first place? Why did they gather at Dataran Merdeka for an event that had no Islamic element or historical significance?

My guess is that these Malays wanted to celebrate the New Year like everyone else, but because of their image and their brand of politics, they had to be different.

They probably wanted to enjoy the new year but were worried they would be accused of mimicking the West. Enjoying themselves, they thought, would make them unislamic. They had to be different because that is the new world they wanted to create. They wanted to send a new message.

As “good Muslims”, they believed they could not allow themselves to enjoy or celebrate the New Year; even if in their hearts they would have much rather preferred watching Siti Nurhaliza, Zainal Abidin or the Blues Gang perform and let loose some fireworks – but politics had to come first.

I hope the Chinese, American and European ambassadors living comfortably in the Ampang precinct take a more serious view of our politics. Stop being naive. Enough of the nice brand of diplomacy.

Just because our leaders wear Brioni suits does not mean they are the usual types found in the world’s capitals. If you care enough about freedom and democracy, you must take the time to understand their thinking.

The Chinese (and by that I mean those from Beijing and not the DAP Chinese) are taking a strong hold of the economy by making huge investments in our country.

They must therefore be careful that our burgeoning fascist ideas—does not destabilise the other communities or the country’s stability.

The Americans and the Europeans must also stop taking things at face value. Many of the neo-Malays here are different from those in Indonesia and Iran.

They are closer to the Taliban and Isis in their values and outlook. Make some effort to understand this new Muslim mindset. Countering these dangerous ideas now will be less costly and better for world peace and stability. –, January 5, 2016.

* Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is a lawyer turned politician and a former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *