One of the most defining moments in recent Malay history is Tunku Abdul Rahman’s proclamation of Merdeka in 1957.
With his arm stretched upwards, the Tunku’s declaration was echoed by thousands others in a roar of pride, freedom and dignity. After years of European colonisation, Tanah Melayu was once again Merdeka.
We are free.
Or so we believe.
While the British no longer rule Singapura and Malaysia directly and their Residents and the British crown no longer impose their violent authority, to believe we are actually free and decolonised is to live in an illusion.
Previous colonisation model
Colonisation was an expensive exercise. Even though the colonisers were able to extract our natural resources and labour for their benefit, the colonising state was directly involved in our administration.
They needed to send administrative officers, maintain their lifestyle, a regimental force, establish and exercise the judiciary, manage local politics and commit to the defence of lands that are not militarily strategic to their own.
Their inability to defend Singapura, the Gibraltar of the East, and the use of resources that could have been redeployed to their own land was strong indication of the folly of the direct colonial venture.
This recognition led to British withdrawal form territories east of the Suez in 1971.
However, it does not mean the British, and more generally the west, are no longer colonising us.
Neocolonialism- Ideational and Systemic Colonialism
Even though the western colonial states have withdrew from Singapura, Malaysia and the region, it does not mean they have given up colonisation.
Colonisation is beneficial to the coloniser.
It privileges their system, promotes our identification with their values, advances the sense of western superiority and ensure we only act and think the way they want us to.
There are 2 main ways the west are still colonising us:
1. Our countries exist within an international system created by the Western powers. This system define the rules, procedures, norms and how each state interact with each other.
The system, whether it is the United Nations, WTO, IMF/ World Bank or the reference to secular, territorial states are created by the West, based on Western experience and preferences.
We are required to operate within the system they established.
And the rules they created. Our own socio-political system is removed and destroyed.
All that we know of now, all that we seek to secure and strengthen, are Western political models.
And approval of the west.
2. The west is actively and continuously promoting their philosophies, based on liberalism to us.
Some of the defeated, colonised Malays have adopted these philosophies.
Like the eunuch, they are intellectually impotent. They throw themselves at the feet of the West and remain their faithful, unthreatening servants.
And speak as though Western thought, ideas, practices are theirs too.
The Liberal Malays do not need to be forced to be subjugated. Their admiration for the west and intellectual castration has led to their own colonisation.
We have not truly been decolonised.
Although while for some of us, our colonisation remains only as members of states colonised through an international system,
for some Malays, their love for their colonial masters means that they want to remain and promote
Their own colonization.
And intellectual impotence.
Source: Almakhazin SG