by Zarina Jaffar
The upcoming Presidential Election has definitely once again throw the spotlight on Malays and Indian Muslims. In Singapore context, Indian Muslims have always been the sandwich race. We are sandwich between our Malay living lifestyle and our identity. Mendaki double standard is not helping in this matter.
Malay and Muslim are used interchangeably in Singapore context as and when they feel the need for it.
I give you a true point in case. Most of my Indian Muslims relatives contributed to both Mendaki and Sinda. When their children applied for the bursary or financial assistance, the favorite quote would be 'sorry, Mendaki are for Malays. You can try applying to Sinda."
But lo and behold, when any of this INDIAN MUSLIMS did well, suddenly they will be invited to Mendaki for whatever not ceremony to pose for pictures with you know who and claim their success under MENDAKI MALAY / MUSLIM banner. And Sinda never does that before. It's very confusing tau for us! it leads to our own IDENTITY CRISIS. Sad right?
This has always been our bone of contentions and I don't think much has changed since.
As a Mendaki spokesman had declared and confirmed this biases "Malay-Muslim self-help group Yayasan Mendaki has a set of criteria for its financial assistance schemes for students administered on behalf of the Government. Among other things, the recipients “must be of Malay descent” as stated in their identity cards. It spells out a list of what it considers to be “Malay descent”, and this includes 22 ethnicities including Acehnese, Javanese, Boyanese, Sumatran, Sundanese, and Bugis. Students with “double-barrelled” race are eligible if the first race is listed on the identity cards as Malay, said a Mendaki spokesman. For example, a student who is Malay-Arab would qualify for the schemes but an Arab-Malay student would not, he added."
P.S - My daughter did not get any financial help from Mendaki after finding out all the stringent rules attached to it. It works out to something like 'I scratch your back and you have to scratch more of mine'. However, when she did well, she was invited to attend the Mendaki ceremony, giving the impression that she owes her success to Mendaki.