KUALA LUMPUR — Non-Malays should never again dispute the special rights of the Malays and the position of the rulers, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said today (Nov 26), adding that Malays themselves never questioned vernacular schools and the citizenship of non-Malays.
He said in his policy speech at the party’s general assembly that the Malays had “accepted and they had never questioned” the social contract they agreed upon during the formation of Malaysia. “If the Malays can accept it by not raising the matter of citizenship and acknowledging that we cannot shut down vernacular schools, why are there those among non-Malays who refuse to honour what they have previously agreed upon?
Mr Khairy said it was a huge sacrifice for the Malays to allow other races to be a part of the country, so non-Malays must keep their end of the bargain and not question Malay rights: “So great were the sacrifices of the Malay people, and all that we ask in return is for the non-Malays to accept several of those matters which I just brought up as the other end of the bargain.”
Mr Khairy also defended the existence of vernacular schools, saying that they were allowed as part of the “status quo” which had “existed pre-Independence, and which will continue to exist”.
Despite Mr Khairy’s statement, some UMNO grassroots leaders have in the past few months demanded that Chinese and Indian schools be shut down for the sake of national unity. Last Sunday, a coalition of 58 Malay-rights groups repeated the call, and even urged Putrajaya to silence “radical” education organisations like Dong Zhong with the threat of de-registration.
Mr Khairy conceded today that there were “fringe voices” questioning the existence of vernacular schools, but stressed that the UMNO leadership has long accepted the current education system.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, however, said Mr Khairy is now travelling the “dark road” of extremists like Perkasa and its president Ibrahim Ali.
Mr Lim said UMNO was no longer the future hope for Malaysia as even Mr Khairy, whom Mr Lim described as a “sober voice” in UMNO, was playing the racial and religious card by warning non-Malays not to challenge the “special rights” of Malays.
“He (Khairy) has taken the dark road travelled by extremists like Perkasa and Ibrahim Ali, when he used his policy speech at the UMNO Youth assembly to blame the non-Malays for questioning the status of the rulers, special position of the Malays and official status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.
“Putting the blame on non-Malays is dishonest and evil politics by Khairy because it is simply false and malicious that the non-Malays questioned such rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” he said in a statement today.
Mr Lim, who is also Bagan MP and Penang chief minister, said Mr Khairy should be addressing facts and figures from reports about the incomes of Malaysian households.
The Malaysia Human Development Report 2013 revealed that 53 per cent of Malaysian households have no financial assets while one in three Malaysians have no banking or financial accounts of any kind. It also showed that rural households have the highest number of those without any financial assets (63 per cent), compared to 45 per cent of urban households.
By ethnic group, about 57 per cent of non-Malay Bumiputeras and 55 per cent of Malays have no financial assets, with the figure for the Chinese and Indians at 45 per cent and 44 per cent respectively. Almost 90 per cent and 86 per cent of rural and urban households respectively had no savings, the report had said, citing the Household Income Survey (HIS).
Mr Lim asked why Khairy had not addressed the report, which was sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Department, since it had a direct impact on the economic future of Malaysians, especially youths including Malays and Bumiputeras. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER