Melayu - By a Malay-Syed Imran
You may have already read this article I published more than a year ago, below this is another article written by a "Malay" who I salute, that reinforces what I have said..
I'd like to challenge your article on the origins of the word Melayu.
(I hope you will not be emotional about this email and create an issue about it, but rather treat this as an intellectual argument between two matured individuals. I have presented facts here for you to review, and if you disagree please substantiate it.
Since you have come out with a blog to attempt to tell us the origins of the word Melayu, and as a Malay, if you are really and truly keen in your own heritage and roots, I am writing to you with the facts of the origins of the word Melayu, in fact there are many scholars of yesteryear's, Malays, who will tell you that the only original words in the Malay language are "Tanah" and "Melayu")
Melayu is derived from the Javanese word Melayu, there are many other words in the Malay vocabulary that actually come from the various Asian languages mostly those of Sanskrit Origin.
The Sanskrit in Malay is derived from the Indian influence of the Majapahit, Srivijaya and other Indian influences in South East Asia . This particular word in Bahasa Malaysia is derived from the word Melayu from Javanese. Javanese was the lingua franca of the people in the region having had its own script, which was actually taken from the Arabic script, the bugis and the rest have dialects close to Javanese.
The Malay language in its romanised context only evolved in the early part of the 20th century.
In Javanese the word Melayu means running away, or a runaway, that is why if you go to Java and ask a Javanese if he is Melayu he will feel very insulted. The word Melayu found on the statue as claimed in your URL; http://www.sabrizain.org/
These people, the runaways whether in Sumatra or in the Malay Peninsula referred to themselves as orang Melayu, it is therefore no coincidence that the word orang is placed before Melayu, people who ran away so to speak.
In the Malay Peninsular, it was gradually accepted as the word to describe the Javanese, the Bugis, the Menang, the Achinese etc. and even the Kelantanese who are actually Yunanese and have their origins in China, because they recognized the fact that at the end of the day they were all Melayu, or Run Aways from their respective homelands the word was accepted by all these communities to describe themselves.
In fact, before the formation of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), it is a fact that all the people in the country had referred to themselves as Menang, Achinese, Bugis, Javanese etc. etc. and we all know that the Kelantanese used to treat the other Melayu, that is the Menang, Javanese, the Bugis etc. as foreigners.
Well for that matter, even Mahathir Mohammed was registered as Indian in King Edwards College where he studied medicine.
The Malay therefore very much like the Indians, and later the Chinese are Melayu in the very true sense of the word because they all left their respective countries to come to this location in South East Asia called Malaysia today.
The real natives of the country are the Orang Laut, the Jakun, the Kadazaan, the Iban, the Senoi and the rest, and not the so called Orang Melayu, because these people are actually Javanese, Achinese, Bugis, people from the Mollucas islands, and other parts of neighbouring Indonesia, including those from Cambodia and even China (Yunanese). That explains the word Melayu in various parts of Sumatra too.
The Javanese people in particular were referred to as Java Kontra a term they despised and today in Sumatra they are referred to as Orang Transmigrasi which is more acceptable to the Javanese in Indonesia then the term Melayu.
For Malay citizenship and for permanent residence reasons, the Orang Java, be they Sundanese, Orang Java Barat, Orang Java Tengah or Orang Java Timor, or any other Indonesian for that matter recognises the fact that the day he becomes a Malaysian citizen, he is now an Orang Melayu that is a new word coined by Malaysians of these origins to legitimise their Bumiputraism.
And to become Bumiputra this way, that is by becoming a Melayu, he has to profess the Islamic faith. This privilege is not extended to Dayaks, from Kalimantan, or Christian Filipinos, or for that matter Christians from among the peoples of Sumatra, Java or any other Indonesian Islands .
The irony of all this is the fact that if you look at the real Orang Asli of Malaysia as a whole you'll find out that the majority of them are not from the Islamic faith, and that is one of the reasons why in Sabah the registration department of the Federal Government legitimised and gave citizenship and permanent residence status to hundreds and thousands of illegal Fillipina immigrants from the Southern part of the Philippines.
I therefore disagree with your attempt to legitimize the term Orang Melayu as a race, it is not and never will be.. The so-called Melayu must own up to their own heritage the way the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia proudly do.
And if we are to use this word called Melayu, it should be a term used to refer to all Malaysians except the ethnic Malaysians who are orang Asli.
The term Bumiputera was coined and the Malay placed in that category to legitimize the fact that he is ethnic when he is not.
It is a shame, and in fact a disgrace that they are the only group of people who by this very act, show the world that they are ashamed of their own heritage.
And who else can be so? Only those who run away or are banished from their own lands, for it is only such people who are ashamed of their own heritage.
Even the customs, the traditions, the dressings, the architecture etc. point to the fact that the so called Orang Melayu of Peninsular Malaysia are actually not one and the same people.
Some time ago I wrote about the Melayu and the origins of the name Melayu, which means runaway.