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The Nut Graph

Hi. The Nut Graph news site begins publishing on 15 August 2008. Please go to to read more!
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Check out The Nut Graph

To be launched in August 2008, our much-awaited news site promises to provide insightful analysis into the news in and outside of Malaysia. Featuring seasoned journalists and well-known columnists, The Nut Graph will connect the dots for readers to make sense of politics and pop culture.

Seeking Justice and Equality: Chandra Muzaffar replies

IT is sad that Jules Ong has not really understood my position on justice and equality in Malaysia. For almost 40 years now, I have argued in my writings and speeches that the nation’s historical background is an essential prerequisite for understanding justice and equality in contemporary Malaysia.

If Malaysians of Chinese and Indian origin appreciate and empathise with the indisputable fact that Malaysia emerged from a Malay polity, their legitimate quest for justice and equality would be founded upon premises that are quite different from what has informed their struggle all these decades. They would not regard the primacy accorded to the Malay language as the sole national and official language as an act of injustice. This was the attitude adopted by a number of non-Malay political parties in the late fifties and sixties. Neither would non-Malays and non-Muslims raise the alarm when Islam assumes a more significant role in the life of the nation especially since the religion was the basis of state and administration in the pre-colonial period. They would understand why our constitutional monarchs are Malays. Given the nation’s history, they would be able to appreciate why the helm and core of the national political leadership is Malay. They would not view attempts to raise the economic wellbeing of the Malays as antithetical to the principle of equality.

Read more »

Farewell to the homogenous Malay

By Farish A. Noor

Takkan Melayu hilang di dunia” (Never shall the Malays cease to be): Hang Tuah’s legendary call to arms rings a note of defiance laced with anxiety and speaks volumes about the perennial angst of a people whose place and standing in the world were never something to be taken for granted. Read in its proper context, the full meaning of the statement becomes clear: here was the call for unity by a fabled hero that came at a time of flux and change, when the shifting fortunes of Malacca were tilting on the side of impending defeat at the hands of the Portuguese.

Yet sadly, as is always the case, the story of Tuah has been misread and mis-appropriated for other ends that have more to do with politics and less to do with history. Beloved by the right-wing conservatives among us, the dissected figure of Tuah has been robbed of his pacifist, mystical and philosophical leanings, leaving us with only the static figure of a cardboard two-dimensional ethno-nationalist, who surprisingly resembles many of the Mat Rempit-wannabe types who make up the rank and file of Umno Youth today.

We forget that at the end of the Hikayat Hang Tuah epic, Tuah himself abandons his keris and turns his back on his king, renouncing the world and turning his attention to the salvation of his soul instead. Yet this sorrowful figure has been cut-and-pasted today to suit the ethno-nationalist agenda of the race-warriors and demagogues.

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An Open Letter to Chandra Muzaffar

Dear Dr Chandra,

I remember the first time I saw you speaking. I was in sixth form and you were speaking in a public forum at the Komtar Dome in Penang. I was in awe of your intellectual courage. You spoke the language of justice and equality in an environment where equality seemed a dirty word.

Fast forward two decades later, reading your analysis of BN [Barisan Nasional]‘s dismal showing at the polls (“The Polls – and the BN debacle”, The Star, March 17, 2008), I must say, I was disappointed.

You seemed to have regressed. And your words belie a lack of understanding and sympathy for fellow Malaysians who long to be counted as equal citizens of this country. Read more »