UMNO should stop claiming Malay dominance (Ketuanan Melayu)
to preserve and safeguard national unity and racial harmony in the
by Ronnie Liu
Friday): The so-called Malay Dominance or Malay
the Master Race (Ketuanan Melayu) as claimed in Form 5 History
textbook, page 108-109 (published by Dewan Budaya & Pustaka) serves no
purpose but undermines national unity in the long run if not expunged. Such
claim is not only politically-incorrect and insensitive but also immoral in
the context of a multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural society like
ours. It certainly runs against the so-called Bangsa Malaysia concept
expounded in the Vision 2020 document.
DAP leaders were not in anyway questioning the special position granted to
the Malays in the Federal Constitution. Our concern is that we do not want
our young students to think that they are now living in a country where a
certain race is seen as a special-class or privileged-class citizens.
Malay dominance is a claim championed only by the UMNO leaders. The claim
was never accepted by DAP and other right-minded Malaysians.
UMNO leaders and other chauvinists have always made reference to Article 153
of the Federal Constitution to back their claims on such special privileges.
But they must not forget that the original intention of Article 153 was to
protect the Malays for the survival of the community after the Independence.
It was not meant to be there to discriminate against other races in the
All citizens are equal before the law. Nowhere does the Federal Constitution
grant the Malays first-class citizens or categorizing the non-Malays as
second-class. It also does not in anyway suggesting that the Malays be
granted the so-called Malay dominance (Ketuanan Melayu) over other
races in the country as claimed in the Tingkatan 5 Sejarah
Let us take a closer look at Article 153 in the Federal Constitution:
Clause 1 of Article 153 states: "It shall be the responsibility of the
Yang di-pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and
the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the
provisions of this Article."
Clause 2 states that the Yang di-pertuan Agong shall safeguard the special
position of the Malays by reserving positions "of such proportion as he may
deem reasonable" in a) the public service b) educational facilities and c)
Clauses 3 and 6 say that the Yang di-pertuan Agong may, for purpose of
fulfilling Clause 2, give general directions to the relevant authorities,
which shall then duly comply.
There are several provisions under different clauses in this Article,
prohibiting the deprivation of the existing facilities enjoyed by the
non-Malays. Clause 5 consists of one sentence, which reads: "This Article
does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136."
Article 136 also consists of one sentence, which reads: "All persons of
whatever race in the same grade in the service of the Federation shall,
subject to the terms and conditions of their employment, be treated
Clause 9 consists of one sentence, which reads: "Nothing in this Article
shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the
purpose of reservations for Malays."
Clause 1 of Article 89(Equality) states: "All persons are equal before
the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law."
Clause 2 states: "Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution,
there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of
religion, race, descent or place of birth any law or in the appointment on
any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration
of any law relating to the acquisition, holding of disposition of property
or the establishing or carrying on any trade, business, vocation or
It's high time for UMNO to drop such a claim to preserve and safeguard
national unity and racial harmony in the country.
After all, both the former and current Prime Ministers have spoken about the
risk and "disadvantage" of over-reliance on special privileges. They have
even described such privileges as crutches or tongkat. But it's sad
to note that some younger leaders in UMNO like Hishamuddin Hussein and Dr
Shafie Mohd Salleh were too shallow to understand the implications of such
MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC leaders should be bold enough to advice their
counterparts in UMNO to remove such claims in the textbooks for the sake of
national unity and racial harmony in the country. It's also a good
opportunity for them to prove their patriotism.
* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP International Secretary and NGO