TN50 (National Transformation 2050): What do Malaysians really want?

Race and religion strongly define us Malaysians. They define who we are, who we friend, who we marry, where we live and work, and who we support. Our country leaders, including those from the opposition, strive instead to encourage and strengthen these racial and religion lines, polarizing Malaysians into distrusting groups.

TN50 or National Transformation 2050 is a crowd-sourced national plan for our country from 2020 to 2050, but I am doubtful if this whole initiative will be meaningful because it ignores the elephant in the room: the growing us-vs-them mentality between Malaysians simply on the basis of one’s race and religion.

What would happen, for instance, if Lim Kit Siang, leader of the DAP political party, were in a room full of PAS supporters in the heartland of PAS? What could he possibly say that to these PAS supporters that would invoke them to genuinely cheer and applaud him? Similarly, what would Dato’ Seri Haji Abdul Hadi bin Awang, leader of the PAS political party, say to a room full of Chinese that would make these Chinese willingly stand up and give the PAS leader an honest and rousing applause?

In our current political and sociological climate, there is nothing these two leaders could say, without lying or betraying their own party, race, or religion, to their respective audience to win their admiration and support.

Yes, our mindsets are defined by our race and religion. But look closer – dig deeper. You will find we are not that different from one another in our basic needs.

We Malaysians, regardless of our race and religion, want the same things. We desire a country that provide us with ample opportunities to lead good, comfortable lives. We want an environment that provide us with opportunities for good education, work, health care, and opportunities to find love and grow old with our loved ones. We want an environment that allows us to find and develop our skills and opportunities for us to express these skills for the good of the society and even for the good of our religion and god. We desire an environment that is fair, that we are not oppressed or exploited, and that we are not cheated of our opportunities and rights.

So, yes, we Malaysians are different. One may be a Chinese, another a Malay, or one a DAP supporter but another fervent champion of PAS or UMNO – but all of us really, at the end, want the same things. No Malaysians want chaos or anarchy. No Malaysians really want to annihilate or kick out people of other races or religions. Malaysians want a tolerant society. Ultimately, our fundamental desires are what unites us all.

Until we Malaysians and our leaders understand and truly appreciate this and learn to respect one another’s race and religion and learn to downplay personal and selfish agendas to create the kind of aforementioned kind of environment, the TN50 initiative, whatever grand plans it dreams up, will be a futile exercise.



  1. The Malays worry about feeling alienated in their only homeland. The Chinese identify with Mandarin and the Foreign Beijing government as a race. The Tamils also identify with the Foreign Indian Tamils – although more as a linguistic and cultural identify. But where will the Malays feel at home with almost half the population non-Malay. After all the country is called Malaysia. There is probably no other country on Earth where the minority groups are such a large percentage that they are able to overwhelm the “majority”. This is the root concern why there are discriminatory policies in favour of the Malays. It is the basic concern of not feeling foreign in the only homeland you know. If you criticise the Muslims in the West for not integrating why not criticise the Chinese for not “integrating” by leaving their language, culture and beliefs and embrace Malay or Muslim ways?

    • First of all, the Chinese do not identify with China, other than it being a tourist country and ancestral home. This is a failure on your part to not understand other “races” in the country. We may have come from there, but that was literally generations ago. Since then, the Chinese have contributed significantly to Malaysia (not China), so as other “races”.

      Stop being so sensitive until you believe I have something against your “race” and religion. You are assuming a lot about me. I said multiculturalism is failing in some countries, not specifically only the Muslims.

      You don’t believe only the Muslims are the minorities or only the important ones worth considering in other countries, right? Europe really opened their countries to others only about 30 years ago.

      Over there, it is been only the first and second generation, but here in Malaysia, the other “races” have been here since the early 1800s. Some of us even hold government positions! And as I said, the Chinese and Indians have contributed to Malaysia’s growth. We may have come here as coolies laborers, and servants. But we stayed, married, and had many kids since then. It is Malaysia that we call home, not China, not India, not the West.

      We are not trying to create a China-like or India-like government here or a Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu government, just a country that treats us as rakyat without distinctions. Is that so wrong?

      The problem lies in how much we identify with our race, so much so it is “us against them” mentality. It is my race first, then country. Isn’t that a shame?

      It is also strange that your “race” control nearly all aspects of the government and with special privileges, and yet you feel alienated? Come on. Jealousy, perhaps?

      Lastly, just as you ask me why don’t other “races” in Malaysia abandon their identity, religion, and culture and embrace Malay and Muslim way of life, perhaps I can ask you back why don’t the Muslim minorities in Europe abandon theirs too to embrace the western way of life? And please note multiculturalism means as the word says: multi = many and culturalism = culture, so many cultures. Or more specifically: “The view that the various cultures in a society merit equal respect and scholarly interest”.

      Multiculturalism does not mean one race, one culture, one identity.

      P.S. the government of China is not a race.

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