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Encyclopedia > Ultra (Malaysia)

During the 1960s in Malaysia and Singapore, some racial extremists were referred to as "ultras". The phrase was most commonly used by the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, and other leaders of his political party, the People's Action Party (PAP), to refer to Malay extremists. However, it was also used by some members of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) — the leader of the Alliance coalition governing Malaysia — to refer to Lee instead, as Lee was perceived to be a Chinese chauvinist himself. The Prime Minister of Singapore is the head of government of the Republic of Singapore (and prior to 9 August 1965, the State of Singapore). ... Lee Kuan Yew (also spelt Lee Kwan-Yew) (born September 16, 1923) (Chinese: 李光耀; Pinyin: ) was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. ... A political party is an organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... Party logo with a symbol of red lightning that signifies action. ... UMNO Flag The United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, (Malay: Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu), is the largest political party in Malaysia and a founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has ruled the country uninterruptedly since its independence. ... Barisan Nasional (National Front or BN) is a political coalition in Malaysia. ...



Lee first used the phrase "ultras" in 1964, when he publicly demanded that UMNO's leadership "Smack down their ultras." This was barely a year after Singapore had merged with Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak to form a united Malaysia, and this profoundly troubled the UMNO leadership. It is not clear where Lee got the idea of labeling Malay chauvinists as "ultras", but it is possible that he may have obtained it from a student's Ph.D. thesis. In 1960, Lee served on a three-man panel that evaluated Gordon Paul Means' Ph.D. thesis, entitled "Malayan Government and Politics in Transition". On one page of his copy of the manuscript, Lee had reportedly underlined in thick pencil the word "ultra" and placed an exclamation mark over it. [1] The Federation of Malaya, or in Malay Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, was formed in 1948 from the British settlements of Penang and Malacca and the nine Malay states and replaced the Malayan Union. ... State motto: Sabah Maju Jaya Capital Kota Kinabalu Governor Ahmadshah Abdullah Chief Minister Hj. ... State motto: United, Industrious, Dedicated (Malay: Bersatu, Berusaha, Berbakti ) Capital Kuching Governor T.Y.T Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Chief Minister Y.A.B. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib Bin Mahmud / Pehin Sri Dr. Hj. ... Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. ... A thesis (literally: position from the Greek θέσις) is an intellectual proposition. ... It has been suggested that pencil lead be merged into this article or section. ... An exclamation mark, exclamation point or bang, !, is usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feeling. ...


Some of the perceived Malay "ultras" were Syed Jaafar Albar, once the UMNO Secretary-General, Syed Nasir Ismail, a strong advocate of expanding the scope of the Malay language in Malaysian society, Mahathir bin Mohamad, then an UMNO Member of Parliament and future Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Musa Hitam, another UMNO MP who would later serve as Mahathir's deputy. [2] Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ... Mahathir bin Mohamad (born July 10, 1925) was the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003. ... The Houses of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur. ... The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. ... Tan Sri Musa bin Hitam aka Moses Black received his Bachelors degree from the University of Malaya and his Masters degree from the University of Sussex. ...

What these men had in common was their perceived support of ketuanan Melayu, or Malay supremacy (although these exact phrases were then not in vogue). Syed Jaafar Albar had campaigned strongly for the Singaporean branch of UMNO in the 1963 Singaporean general election, and made heated statements condemning Malay PAP politicians as un-Islamic, anti-Malays, and traitors to their community. Othman Wok, a senior Malay PAP politician, later insinuated Syed Jaafar's rhetoric had set the stage for the 1964 Race Riots in Singapore. [3] Syed Nasir Ismail had insisted on closing down all Chinese schools in Malaysia as soon as possible, making Malay the sole official language. [4] United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth Chief Hishamuddin Hussein waving the keris (traditional Malay dagger) in defense of ketuanan Melayu. ... The start of the racial riot on Prophet Muhammads birthday, that would later injure hundreds and kill twenty three. ...

Mahathir was a strong proponent of strengthened affirmative action for the Malays, and reportedly demanded (together with Syed Nasir Ismail and Syed Jaafar Albar) a one-party Malay-only government led by UMNO in the wake of the May 13 racial riots in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. [5] He would later author The Malay Dilemma, which contended that the Malays as the "definitive people" of Malaysia had a birthright guaranteeing them special privileges such as those outlined by Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia. Musa, who was closely associated with Mahathir, thus became also associated with Mahathir's "ultra" approach to politics. [6] Both would later be expelled from UMNO by then Prime Minister and UMNO President Tunku Abdul Rahman after Mahathir's reaction to the May 13 riots. Then Home Minister Ismail Abdul Rahman would issue an explanation of the decision where he stated: "These ultras believe in the wild and fantastic theory of absolute dominion by one race over the other communities, regardless of the Constitution." [7] Musa and Mahathir would later be rehabilitated by the Tunku's successor, Tun Abdul Razak. [6] To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The May 13 Incident is a term for the Chinese-Malay race riots in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 13, 1969 which left at least 184 people dead. ... Mayor Datuk Ruslin Hasan Area  - Total (City) 243. ... The Malay Dilemma is a controversial book written by Mahathir bin Mohamad in 1970. ... In 2005, UMNO Youth Chief Hishamuddin Hussein brandished the keris (traditional Malay dagger) in defense of ketuanan Melayu, the social contract and Article 153. ... The Constitution of Malaysia, comprising more than 180 articles, is the supreme law of Malaysia. ... Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah (February 8, 1903–December 6, 1990) usually known as the Tunku (a princely title in Malaysia), and also called Bapa Kemerdekaan (Father of Independence) or Bapa Malaysia (Father of Malaysia), was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya... Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman (November 4, 1915 - August 2, 1973) was a Malaysian politician. ... Tun Abdul Razak bin Dato Hussein (1922-1976) was the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, ruling from 1970 to 1976. ...

In some cases, Lee also would refer to media outlets as "ultras"; he once criticised the Utusan Melayu as "their [the ultras'] newspaper". [8] Utusan Malaysia (formerly known as Utusan Melayu) is a Malay-language newspaper in Malaysia that was launched and printed in Singapore on May 29, 1939 to cater to the Jawi-literate in then British Malaya. ...

Ironically, Lee himself would later be considered an "ultra" by the Alliance government for some of the statements he made; on May 24, 1965, Lee publicly stated: "Let us be quite frank. Why should we go back to old Singapore and once again reduce the non-Malays in Malaya to a minority?" [9] His Malaysian Malaysia campaign was not received well either by UMNO or most of the Malays, who tended to view a Malaysian Malaysia as a "Chinese Malaysia". It has been speculated that this was due to the limited vocabulary of Malay at the time; the only Malay word for "nation" then was "bangsa", which was also synonymous with race. Since there was (and is) no "Malaysian race", it has been argued that most Malays considered anything other than a "Malay nation" as threatening to their rights. [10] The conflict between Lee and his Chinese-majority PAP culminated in the secession of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965. May 24 is the 144th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (145th in leap years). ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... The sometimes tumultous relationship between the Peoples Action Party and United Malays National Organisation, which were, and still are, the ruling parties respectively of Singapore and Malaysia, has impacted the recent history of both States. ...

Reduction in usage

The usage of the phrase "ultra" declined greatly in the 1970s, not long after the May 13 riots of 1969. This may have been due to strong restrictions on making potentially incendiary declarations in public; even Parliament was banned from discussing the repeal of certain articles of the Constitution, such as Article 153, which touched on Malay rights. [11] Due to this, the political atmosphere cooled down, which may have indirectly contributed to the decline in usage of "ultra" to describe racial chauvinists.

Notes and references

  1. Sopiee, Mohamed Noordin (1976). From Malayan Union to Singapore Separation: Political Unification in the Malaysia Region 1945 – 65, p. 194. Penerbit Universiti Malaya. No ISBN available.
  2. Customer Service, University Tunku Abdul Rahman Library (2005). "Universiti - Perlukah sebuah lagi?". Retrieved Feb. 14, 2006.
  3. Goh, Jenny (July 23, 1997). Small spark can create big mess. Straits Times.
  4. Lee, Hock Guan (2001). "Political Parties and the Politics of Citizenship and Ethnicity in Peninsular Malay(si)a, 1957-1968". Retrieved Feb. 22, 2006.
  5. Alatas, Syed Farid (2002). "ISLAM, DEMOCRATIZATION AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN INDONESIA AND MALAYSIA". Retrieved Feb. 22, 2006.
  6. a b Means, Gordon P. (1991). Malaysian Politics: The Second Generation, p. 22. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-588988-6.
  7. Means, p. 10.
  8. Sopiee, p. 201.
  9. Sopiee, p. 204.
  10. Sopiee, p. 203.
  11. Means, pp. 14–15.



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