Feudalism in Malaysia Today: A Historical Perspective

Malaysia’s problems are often linked to race, with the country’s history being shaped by the events of May 13, 1969, which led to affirmative action policies towards Bumiputeras. Article 153 of Malaysia’s Constitution grants the King of Malaysia the responsibility to protect the special position of Malays and natives in Sabah and Sarawak, enhancing the ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ or Malay supremacy narratives.

However, these narratives do not align with reality, as Malaysian society still reflects traits of old feudalism. The title system reinforces a feudal hierarchy, with agencies and ministries having special VVIP service rooms. Race has been used as a tool to divide society, with Malays often receiving special privileges to help them overcome their handicaps.

These policies have created a sense of entitlement within Malays, leading to the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the’myth of the lazy Malay’. By ‘feeding the Malays cake’, the real divisions of society could be hidden for years, and many Malays were grateful for the benefits, leading to the UMNO’s power for over 50 years and the accumulation of wealth by elites.

The wealth accumulated by a class of elite in Malaysia was hidden from the public, and anti-corruption mechanisms were almost non-existent until the formation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). The executive controlled the MACC, which aimed to suppress corruption.

The media faced intimidation and harsh defamation laws, making newspapers and news portals government mouthpieces. The ruling elite has become untouchable, with taboo criticism and legal evasion due to a non-independent attorney general and public prosecutor, preventing local investigative journalists from exposing corruption and persecuting whistleblowers.

Budgets and five-year plans provided projects for the elite, who have run amok in the Malaysian economy for fifty years. Prize assets and monopolies were handed to these elites, and today, Malaysian politics and business are filled with a group of families dominating both political power and business.

The political instability in Malaysia over the last five years is caused by a fragmented elite fighting over power, and the ongoing investigations and prosecutions are the result of a deep rift within the elite. Malaysia’s government has been led by old politicians aligned with the elites, leading to a lack of new talent and a lack of wealth creation. The elites have geared the economy towards rent-seeking activities, and anyone who exposes them is sent into bankruptcy through legal proceedings.

The issue at hand is not racial division, but rather the elites. The cover-up over the years has exposed the elites’ wealth and corruption. The people are supportive of their prosecutions and jailing, but it will take time for the people to realize the real enemies of the elites over the last fifty years. The real enemies are the elites themselves, not racial division.

FeudalismFeudalism in Malaysia Today: A Historical PerspectiveMalaysia