For once Anwar Ibrahim said something a little specific rather than his usual broad banalities.
With 134 police reports already lodged against the Tommy Thomas memoir My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, Anwar perhaps felt that he needed to wade in.
Doing so, he took aim at the memoir’s chapter on racism.
Anwar saw the critical take by Thomas as being “somewhat one-sided”, skewed to the non-Malay point of view.
BELOW: Overconfident that they’re on the right side of justice
Ex-AG’s “downward spiral of condemnation”
Anwar said in his Feb 7 book review that Thomas had levelled a preponderance of the blame at Malay leaders for racism that “in Malaysia is a systemic cultural and political problem, which has been exacerbated by government policies” (quote unquote Anwar’s words).
Anwar concluded that by largely blaming the Malay leadership, Thomas was “giving the impression that racism is a malady afflicting only the Malay community”.
“Not one word is said about the racism that is inherent among the other communities as well and this is yet another fatal misstep,” added Anwar.
To paraphrase Anwar, what a fatal misstep that the non Malays, more generally, are unable to realise their own racism.
BELOW: Not a lot has changed in the 50 years since Tun Razak complained
The slighted paragons feel resentment and anger
Another “dark side” of the Thomas memoir touched on the workings in the AG’s Chamber.
Here Anwar found Thomas to have an attitude that can only be described as nothing short of condescending — making “such insensitive, high and mighty remarks”.
Anwar said Thomas puts forward an unbecoming gross generalization about the civil service (which is mostly manned by Malays).
He believed Thomas’ condescension could be derived from “the sort of resentment founded in anger and slight” felt by non Malays at the system.
“It betrays a deep seated, even Freudian like, prejudice against Malays fomented through years of racism,” wrote Anwar.
This deep seated prejudice, Anwar conjectured, could be a reflection of an “innate sense of superiority” on the part of a non Malay.
Such a sense of superiority would be a holdover from the kind previously displayed by the white man over his colonial charges in South Asia and our own Southeast Asia.
BELOW: Survey in 76 countries asking the question “How big of a problem is racial discrimination in the country where you live?“
In other words, there was a racial pecking order when the British ruled Malaya.
A mistaken belief in The Myth of the Lazy Native places the Malay race at the bottom of this colonial hierarchy.
Umno leaders have, since Independence, tried to upend this hierarchical race construct. Cue the late Tun Abdul Razak … upon whom “Thomas unleashes a brutal assault” of his mighty pen, Anwar lamented.
Malays deeply love Tun Razak, the non Malays not so much.
The different races in Malaysia are divided on many things. One facet of this polarisation is the love hate split on larger-than-life political icons. It results in making politics personal.
On a separate note, Anwar Ibrahim is the last major Malay friend the DAP has remaining.
He seems to be losing his patience with them if the venting on lack of self-awareness is anything to go by.