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The constitution and Malay rights

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Kim Quek | Jan 25, 08 11:02am

The recent Hindraf demonstrations against racial marginalization of Indian Malaysians have again brought into focus the issue of Malay “privileges” as provided for under the Constitution. Judging from public utterances in the press and websites, there seem to be continuing wide-spread ignorance, misrepresentation and misunderstanding of what our Constitution precisely provides on this issue.

The center of controversy is Article 153 of the Constitution which provides for what is popularly known as Malay “privileges”. Due to misrepresentation by Umno in the past, many have come to identify Article 153 – and even the entire Constitution – as racially discriminatory. This is not so. In spite numerous constitutional amendments, the egalitarian spirit of our Constitution in respect of racial equality remains largely intact. Public misunderstanding is attributed to Umno hijacking Article 153 to practice unbridled racial discrimination for self-enrichment in the past few decades.

Due to the heightening racial tensions caused by Umno’s retrogressive move to intensify its racial agenda under the NEP (New Economic Policy) and brewing racial discontent by Hindraf, it is imperative and urgent that the truth be known with regards […]