KJ Used 'Titik Bengik' To Describe UiTM's Non-Bumi Issue. But What Does The Term Mean?

In a way, this story can also be described as 'titik bengik'.

Cover image via Keluar Sekejap (YouTube)

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Recently, Khairy Jamaluddin addressed the controversy surrounding Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) over a proposal to temporarily open admissions to non-Bumiputeras at the public university

According to Khairy, popularly known as KJ, the issue revolves around a shortage of medical specialists in Malaysia, particularly cardiothoracic surgeons.

He explained that while there was a proposal for UiTM to temporarily admit non-Bumiputera trainees as a short-term solution, the debate has broadened to include discussions on permanently opening UiTM to non-Bumiputeras and the need for approval from the Council of Rulers.

He spoke up on the issue in the latest episode of his Keluar Sekejap podcast on YouTube.

However, a specific term he used to describe the issue has become a topic of discussion.

"You have to be serious people lah. Don't be the 'titik bengik' people that [Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim] mentioned earlier. Remeh temeh. You have to be serious people.

"If you want to be 'titik bengik', then get out of here. You don't deserve to be anywhere near serious issues," he shared while discussing the matter with his podcast partner, Shahril Sufian Hamdan.


So what does 'titik bengik' mean?

While it may sound vulgar at first glance due to the similarity of the first word to the slang in Bahasa Melayu (BM) for female breasts, the term simply means something trivial or small.

To break it down, 'titik' means drop or dot, and 'bengik' means shortness of breath. Together, these words mean 'small' or 'trivial', according to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

So, KJ was suggesting that people should not be 'small-minded', especially when it involves an issue as crucial as the shortage of medical specialists, which is of vital importance to the country.

"The issue lies in ensuring that they [specialists] can be registered," he said, adding that the issue has reached an impasse because some people propose that UiTM should accept the trainees, while the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) says there is no guarantee it will eventually accept them.

"The health minister and the higher education minister need to solve this problem. The director-general of health, who is the MMC president, caused this problem by saying that he does not recognise this speciality.

"Settle it, settle this issue. The ministers and the director-general should get it done," he said.

Before applying the term to describe the UiTM controversy, KJ mentioned that it was Anwar initially used it during his recent national address

"What I noticed him say was 'titik bengik'. I heard 'titik bengik', but actually it is 'tetek bengek'," KJ shared with Shahril while using his hands to point towards his chest to describe what 'tetek' meant.

"This is a term that [Anwar] likes to borrow from [Indonesia]. 'Titik bengik' is a term you commonly hear in Indonesia, meaning something trivial. So [Anwar] said don't focus on [trivial things]," KJ explained.

Shahril later chimed in and asked for the literal meaning of the term.

"Wallahualam, and I'm scared to think about the literal meaning of 'tetek bengek'. But yeah, let's not focus on the trivial things. We should focus on important things."


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