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Monday, June 11, 2012

AdilanClub: No weapons left, ailing Umno exploits non-Malay PM issue to alarm innocent Malays

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:05 AM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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AdilanClub:Breaking news, is the best for news

This question about a non-Malay Prime Minister is being exploited by UMNO to alarm the innocent Malays. All Karpal Singh is saying is that legally you can have non-Malay or non-Muslim as Prime Minister. From the constitutional point of view he is spot-on.  He may be politically off the grid in the Malaysian context but he has not erred constitutionally.

The Federal Constitution of Malaysia clearly stipulates that the race and religion of the Prime Minister are not the criteria here. Article 43(2)(a) of the Constitution just merely stipulates that His Majesty the Agong is to appoint a Prime Minister from amongst a Member of the House (elected Member of Parliament) who commands the confidence of the majority of the Members of the House.

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No Chinese or Indian is ambitious to become the Prime Minister

The Constitution is silent on the race or religion of the Prime Minister. Any elected Member of Parliament, who in the opinion of the Agong can command the confidence of the majority, can legally become the Prime Minister.

Anyway, to most educated Malaysians as long as a person is competent, not corrupt and has the integrity as a politician he can be chosen to lead the country. Singapore has had Chinese prime ministers who have steered the country into a developed and progressive nation.

The Chinese were appointed as prime ministers of the nation because of their ability and not solely based on them being the majority race of the state.

The reality in Malaysia is that it has always been that the Prime Minister comes from the majority race – the Malay. Malaysians will not object to this unwritten norm as long as the leader is competent, honest and fair to all. This has been consensually accepted by the Opposition as well.

The issue will only arise when a Prime Minister appointed is ineffectual and comes with a lot of baggage. But still there is a democratic way of replacing a leader through fair and free elections.

Looking at the reality in the country, no Chinese or Indian is ambitious to become the Prime Minister. There are indeed many capable Malays in both the political divide who can hold this post.

Historically and traditionally though for the past 55 years since Merdeka, Malaysia has always worked on convention or tradition. And the norm is that a Prime Minister has been a Malay-Muslim from the party with the most number of seats in Parliament and comes from the majority race.

The Malay-majority Malaysia

The Opposition, apparently, sees the same as far as the appointment of a Prime Minister is concerned. For political expediency, at least for now, it may be difficult for a non-Malay or a non-Muslim to become the Prime Minister taking into consideration the Malay-majority Malaysia. Malaysians over-all can accept this reality.

Actually there is no issue on this matter as far as the political parties are concerned. UMNO knows the real situation on the ground but is only exploiting on the issue raised by Karpal to dupe the Malay voters. UMNO's racist agenda is meant to pit Malays against non-Malays in the hope of propping up Malay support for UMNO which is slipping fast.

UMNO is knowingly manipulating this issue so that Malays will be distrustful of the non-Malays – the Chinese in particular. Their political scheme is to delude the Malays – that ‘the Chinese will deprive them of their rights and power’.

Be that as it may, it’s a sociological fact that Malaysians have not melted into a single Bangsa Malaysia after many years if Independence. UMNO’s 1Malaysia is a mere political crap for political convenience. There is no sincere political will on the part of UMNO-led Barisan Nasional to see Bangsa Malaysia becomes a reality.

The divide-and-rule policy of UMNO has created a polarised Malaysian society.

Cultural assimilation

The set-up in India, for instance, where the incumbent Prime Minister comes from a minority group has to be seen from the cultural point of view. Generally the people of India belong to the same DNA stock. They are relatively and inherently melted into one race though they are identified by regional differences and religions.

Historically, the people at large are descendants from within the country with a significant group in the northern part having the Aryan-Indian DNAs in them. But still, culturally they are Indians. Even with the Aryan invasion and influence in some parts of the country in the past the culture of the people of India has remained to be basically the same.

There has been an observable cultural assimilation in India among people. Religions may have ominously divided them but their inherent culture has remained the same among the people. The people are thus able to accept a Hindu, a Sikh or even a Muslim as Prime Minister or President of the country as long as the person commands majority support.

It has taken about 250 years after Independence (1776) for the US to be ready to have a Black as President.  As claimed, the US has become a melting pot for a population of different DNAs. It is however a developed country and enjoys a high level of literacy. Today, the people do not mind appointing a non-White to helm the country.

“As for Malaysia, let’s not be too optimistic or too pessimistic. Just be realistic. For Malaysia to emulate those trends it may take many more years. But this is not impossible to happen,” said a local university lecturer in political science.

Politics of race

In the local set-up, race relations has always become a sensitive matter. Political parties are in the majority race-based. It’s always the interests of an individual race or religion that most politicians keep on highlighting. Malaysians are thus intrinsically divided by race and religion. Unless this can be erased from the minds of the people, Malaysians will forever be bogged down with divisive and digressive politics.

“Race has become a complex thing to define in the country now. Even the term Malay is only defined from the sociologically point of view by politicians. We cannot really find those with pure Malay DNA in the country,” commented a local historian.

“The issue now is have we Malaysians melted enough to be called Bangsa Malaysia and for us not to identity ourselves by our ethnic DNAs? Unfortunately, we have not and this has brought about to a lot of suspicion when it comes to race relations in the country,” he added.

The country’s constitution was written with a long-term prospect for Malaysians. The British and past leaders had the vision for the country. With a multi-racial set up in the country, those who drafted the constitution envisioned that the people would assimilate culturally and go through mixed marriages and the off-spring in time to come would no more be those carrying pure Malay, Chinese, Indian or Indigenous DNA.

“Even our first Prime Minister had Malay and Siamese DNAs. Then the country had another Prime Minster with Malay and Turkish DNAs. This was followed by a Prime Minister with Malay and Indian DNAs,” said a sociologist attached to a local university.


But the country has yet to produce a Prime Minister with a purely non-Malay DNA thus far even when bumiputera is the customary criteria accepted for this designation.

But then not only Malays are classified as bumiputera in the country. There are the Orang Asli and the Indigenous in Sabah and Sarawak who are not Malays or Muslims but also classified as bumiputera. If being a bumiputera is the putative criterion, by logic then, any bumiputera could become the Prime Minister of the country.

Nevertheless, going by the unstated rule, the non-Muslim factor will negate their chance of helming the nation.

Some Orang Asli (the Proto-Malays or the aboriginal Malay) are fast becoming awakened and there are among them who are highly educated. Their ancestors could be traced to the Mongoloids and Austronesian speakers from mainland Asia who moved to the Malay Peninsular and Malay Archipelago in a long series of migrations between 2500 and 1500 BC.

And there are the Indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak who have lived on this land much earlier with no Malay DNA in them. They too may wish to lead the country by virtue of their ancestors having a longer history of stay on this land.

The Deutero-Malays are considered as the direct ancestors of present day's Malay whose migration to this land could be traced back to around 300 BC.

From the historical point of view those with Malay DNA started the Sultanate system in the country since the 15th century and they now comprise the majority race of the country. Along with that comes the religion factor. Those with Deutero-Malay DNA almost all profess the religion of Islam. This began about 600 years ago. Thus, the unstated rule here now – culturally and traditionally – is that to become the Prime Minister the person must be of Deutero- Malay DNA and a Muslim.

Bangsa Malaysia

No Chinese or Indian who migrated to this land much later than the earlier groups would object to this rule although most of them are ‘natives’ of this land by virtue of they being born here. Anyway, they belong to the minority groups. What they aspire for is to have honest leaders who would be fair to all the races in the country.

The 13th general election is just around the corner. UMNO’s tactic now is to instil a siege mentality among the people that the other races will deprive them of their power if they can become the Prime Minister.  But this propaganda will not flourish.  Malaysians are aware that a Chinese or Indian will not go for the Prime Minister’s post in the present setting.

The young and the educated Malays are not that naïve to fall to this Machiavellian trap of UMNO.

It is a strong gesture to the nation that the Opposition has no disposition to appoint a non-Malay Prime Minister. Beyond this, no Chinese or Indian is ambitious to become the Prime Minister of the country.

However, in our democracy it is not enough for Malay support alone for anyone to become the Prime Minister. He needs the support of the Chinese, Indians, and the Indigenous people. In other words, without the support of the majority, even a Malay cannot become the Prime Minister.

The constitution suggests that the leader who can command the support of the majority of parliamentarians can be appointed as Prime Minister. However, there will – all being well – come a day when the people are truly united and enlightened enough to consider a competent non-Malay to lead the majority of parliamentarians, whether he is Malay, Chinese, Indian or Indigenous.

Karpal’s message to the people

For this to happen, no political party should portray that they are champions of a single race. Their focus has to be on the wide gamut and array of Malaysians. Until then Malaysians are generally comfortable in having a Prime Minister from the majority Malay race.

The US took more than 250 years to have a Black as president. It will take many years for a non-Malay Prime Minister to become a reality in Malaysia. That will be the time when every race in the country comes to think less of their race but more as Malaysians. The Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sabahans and Sarawakians will have to be less racial-centric but think of themselves more as Malaysians.

It has to be Malaysian first – not race.

That will be the time when what race is the Prime Minster is not the people’s point of reference anymore.  Imperative is that the Prime Minister must be competent, fair and just to all Malaysians. He must be able to use fair and free elections to win the mandate from the people. He must not be involved in dubious conducts or carry a lot of baggage.

Malaysians must strive for this to happen. Perhaps, this was Karpal’s message to the people when he mentioned that a non-Malay can become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

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