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Syed Hamid makes fool of himself on BBC September 17, 2007

Posted by Tim in Humour, Malaysia, World.

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar was featured on BBC’s Hard Talk recently. The funny thing is, the way he answers it’s as if he’s a joke interviewee on the Colbert Report. The sad thing is he actually seems to think that he is giving good answers.

Do view the first vid here, then find the rest on Youtube.

Some gems:
But since poverty has been tackled, since illiteracy has been eradicated, what’s the justification for treating generations-old – ethnic chinese and indians who have been in Malaysia for generations, why should they be treated differently now?


I think, when you are looking at it from a detached point of view, you may be seeing it that way but if you look in reality, what is happening is, the economic growth of the non-Malays is faster after the New Economic Policy than before it. The share of the economic cake is bigger, deeper, and wider than before so it’s not as if you’re looking at a theoretical, conceptual thing – you’re looking at the realities on the ground. The reality on the ground – look at the household income within Malays, Chinese and Indians. Even the Indians have got better household income than the malays.

[On the educational system]

I think you have to look at it this way, I think you have to look at it this way. Without getting excited about it, or emotional about it. [He just described “outside” people as “detached” earlier!] If you look in term of total number of students, of all the universities in Malaysia, there are still more non-Malays than the malays. and this should not be an issue that divides us. i think ultimately we have done, we have tackled all issue step by step. And it is working, I think ifor Malaysia it is working, whenever we see there is disparity.

What about government contracts?


For your information, the contracts that are enjoyed by the chinese, in absolute terms – the non-Malays – is bigger than even the Malays.

If I have a piece of land that is one acre in a rural area, that one piece of land may be valued at 10,000 ringgit. Which is about 3,000 US dollars. But if I have got a 10,000 square feet of land in the urban area, that would cost millions.

[First of all, this had nothign to do with the question, second of all, I thought the government liked to compare things at par, not market value]

SHA : (in response to question about rising resentment among races)

Democracy does not come by itself. It comes because we look at the examples of other races. So let me see that, in the case that, the most important thing is, there will come a time, when the Chinese, the Indians, and the othe races in Malaysia…

have accepted the arrangement. How can somebody from outside come to tell you –

You mean that this situation is fine because nobody in Malaysia is saying anything about it?


No, not nobody is saying. If, if they are able to – if the opposition, if they are able – or the Chinese parties – decide to get together, and to change that thing, there is nothing under the law to stop it.


Do you not think it is a little odd that all the senior posts in the Cabinet in the last 30 years haven’t been held by a non-Malay?


I don’t think so, this is a democratic system. Each one of them have agreed in a coalition to work together. It is well and good for somebody to say “Oh this – it should not be. I don’t think we’re going to be fooled.

Article 11 of the Malaysian constitution says that every person has the right to profess and practice his own religion. Increasingly that seems to be coming meaningless. Is it?


I don’t think so, I don’t agree with you… you know, Malaysia is one of the places where you can see the practice of multi religion – all religions exist in malaysia. But if you’re talking about converting one person – that is a different issue entirely –

Why? If a Muslim – and there have been some high profile cases, and perhaps one of the most high profile: Lina Joy, a Malay woman. She tried to convert to Christianity, and she wasn’t allowed to.


No no, I think you have made the whole thing turn into something that is negative. Lina Joy wanted to change her name. She was never not allowed to convert to Christianity or whatever religion that she has chosen. But a person is born with an identity card. That is the system we have in Malaysia, the ID [Wow, IDs!].And that ID you want to change, that creates problem. It’s nothing to do with the fact that nobody has arrested her and force her to become a Muslim. But the court decided on the basis that you cannot change your name on the ID.



1. polytikus - September 18, 2007

my brain froze watching it. and the whole world’s laughing at us now …


2. Yellow Saturday breaks through information filters « think it out* - November 11, 2007

[…] also got creamed by Aljazeera (worse than Syed Hamid did at the hands of BBC not too long back ) in a phone interview right after the march. He claimed that Aljazeera was […]

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