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After 50 Years of Merdeka, UMNO continues its racial approach of national assimilation instead of national integration that respects all cultures and religions
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The 50 years of Merdeka, UMNO continues its racial approach of national assimilation based on Malay dominance instead of national integraton that respects all cultures and religions. UMNO Senior Vice-President and Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Haji Mohd Ali Rustam said in Kota Kinabalu said that it is easy to be a Malay as long as a person who is a Muslim, converses in Malay and follows the Malay traditions.
Endorsing Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman statement that more than 50 per cent of the State's nearly three million population are Malays, Mohd Ali had said:
What Ali Rustam said is false because there are Chinese or Indians who have converted to Islam and practice Malay customs, such as Babas and Chittys Muslims in Melaka, are still not considered a Malay and a bumiputera. Clearly UMNO is now trying to extend the definition of Malay in Sabah to cover both Kadazans and Chinese for political purpose even it is contrary to the customary interpretation of of Article 160 of the Federal Constitution which:
Clearly UMNO has rejected the concept of Bangsa Malaysia. At a time when we are celebrating our 50th Merdeka celebrations, we should be looking forward to a one national ideal grounded on democratic principles of justice, respect for human rights, freedom, integrity and human dignity. Instead of looking forward to the next 50 years with modern 21st century ideas, we are reaching back 60 years to 1946 to rely on UMNO’s ketuanan Melayu or Malay dominance as the basis of nation-building. Clearly UMNO rejects political equality and equal opportunity for all Malaysians, seeking to divide by race and religion rather than unite Malaysians as one people.
Let us transform Malaysia through Malaysian First, based on democracy, political equality, equal opportunity and social justice that ensures economic prosperity for all. Political equality means Bangsa Malaysia who former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said “are people being able to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia and accept the Constitution”. Even this is now rejected by UMNO and BN.
Equal opportunity is not just giving everyone the right to work, right to spend what is earned, right to own property and have the state as a servant and not as a master but also about our obligation to help the needy. No one is fated to be poor just as no one is entitled to weatlh. Social justice gives everyone the opportunity to improve their standard of living.
Non-Muslim non-Malays a fourth-class citizen?
The government has given assurances that non-Muslim bumis enjoy the same rights as Muslim bumis. However such racist sentiments expressed by UMNO leaders demonstrate their obvious preference for Muslim bumis. Worse it will place non-Malays who are non-Muslims in the fourth tier of citizenship after Malays, non-Muslim bumis, non-Malay Muslims and then only non-Muslim non-Malays. Are non-Muslim non-Malay a fourth-class citizen?
UMNO’s intention is to widen their political base in Sabah by using race and religion as the uniting factor. This is dangerous and may affect sensitivities that one has more rights if one is a Malay and Muslim, the underlying element of not being able to revert to their original religion following the Lina Joy’s case by the Federal Court. If being Malay and Islam is seen as the dominant factor, this will undermine the basic character and rights of Kadazans or Ibans as bumiputeras regardless of their religious beliefs.
DAP regrets that UMNO is still locked with out-dated mid-20th century ideas of racial dominance popularised by Hitler even though we are in the 21st-century. The time has come to move forward and away from the burdens of race and history if we want to achieve genuine national unity and economic progress which stresses on merit, competitiveness and competency.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP