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“Armed Forces Recruitment Devoid of Racism? Affendi is Living in Fairy Tale Land!”

CHIEF of the Malaysian Armed Forces Tan Sri Affendi Buang claimed that recruitment of personnel in the three armed forces wings—army, navy and air force— is based on merit and not race or religion.

He said that even though the recruitment of non-Malays are not as high as the Malays, they nonetheless play an important role.

I think Affendi, a high ranking general and the commander of the three wings of the armed forces, must be living in fairy tale world, having difficulty separating facts from fiction!

Affendi is denying something that is so obvious and blatant, that I find it oddly amusing.

READ: No Racial Quotas In MAF – Chief Of Defence Force

The general should simply tell the truth that the armed forces, being the bastion of Malay supremacy, must be dominated by the Malays; rank and file and above.

Those holding top ranks in the army, navy and the air force are invariably Malays. How many non-Malays are holding top ranks in the three wings of the armed forces?

Come on, Affendi! The whole world knows about the state of the Malaysian armed forces and its recruitment process. In essence, it is an extension of the larger political establishment which is premised on race and religion.

The recruitment policy in the armed forces mirrors the civil service and is determined by the Government in power.

Since Independence, with the Government being controlled by Malay-based parties, the recruitment in the civil service and other Government agencies are predicated on the employment of one race—the Malays.

Institutionalised racism

And the necessity to recruit predominantly Malays in the armed forces is more prominent than other Government departments, on grounds that the armed forces is looked upon by the Government to protect Malay interest in the country.

So, there is no need for Affendi or any others to deny that the recruitment in the armed forces is not racially-biased. It is indeed racial and very much political. Why deny something that is so obvious and blatant?

On that note, I don’t agree that recruitment in the Government departments or the armed forces should be based on racial and religious considerations.

But we are talking about Malaysia here, where the Government examines and analyses almost everything using the racial lens.

The increased recruitment of Malays in all federal and state agencies are simply seen as a method to exclude non-Malays, upsetting the delicate racial balance in the country.

Do not misunderstand me here. I am not saying there are tensions and racial animosity within the armed forces. In fact, there is some degree of camaraderie between their personnel, irrespective of race or religion.

Just that I think Affendi might have confused between the existence of institutionalised racism and the absence of everyday forms of cordial relationship between Malays and non-Malays, in terms of daily experiences and relationships. – Sept 18, 2021

By Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

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