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Sunday October 24, 2010

The many roots of Malays leave delegates in stitches

LIGHT exchanges over the origins of Malay and whether Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who is of Turkish descent, could be regarded as Malay, had the delegates in stitches yesterday.

Fellow vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal had the floor in stitches earlier when he said that party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak didn’t include the Turks when defining the Malays in the country during his presidential address.

Hishammuddin said that even Shafie, whom he called “the pirate of Semporna”, had eloquently presented his speech in Malay, complete with poetry. Shafie is of Bajau descent.

Hishammuddin took the joke further by labeling Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as Jawa Bagan Datuk, Malacca chief minister Datuk Seri Ali Rustam as Bengali Malay, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambri Abdul Kadir as mamak Malay, Datuk Seri Musa Aman as Malay-Pakistan-Dusun. To this, a delegate retorted he is a three-in-one Malay.

Putra Umno chief Datuk Azeez Abd Rahim was not left out.

“I have checked (with the National Registration Department) and the JPN director-general told me that Azeez’s (ethnic) status is unknown,” Hishammuddin said.

Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also touched on a person’s roots.

“People ask me what am I. My late father was a Bugis and my late mother was a Javanese. I am a Malay,” he said.

Najib, in his winding-up speech, declared that the man of Turkish descent and the guy with “unknown status” are also Malays.

“We are all Malays. We must be united,” he said to loud applause from the floor.

On Thursday, Najib had given a long list of creeds and ethnic groups ranging from Bajau to Pakistanis, Arabs and Indian Muslims who were regarded as part of the Malay root.

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