PETALING JAYA: The Federal Constitution protects the special position and rights of the Malays and it has nothing to do with racial supremacy, says Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad.
“The term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ (Malay supremacy) is not in the Constitution. It only cropped up some time, I believe, during the 12th General Election, to discourage the Malays from supporting the non-Malays or the opposition,” he said.
“The special rights of the Malays that have been enshrined in the Federal Constitution includes the institution of the Malay Rulers and the position of Islam as the federal religion,” he said here yesterday after launching a seminar on the enforcement of the Use of Biodegradeable Products in the Federal Territories at Bandar Tun Razak.
Khalid, who is Parti Amanah Negara communications director, said that it was strange for the Malays to say that they want to defend the right to discriminate among races, when, in his opinion, Islam rejected racial discrimination.
He was asked about Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that implementing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) would entail amending the Federal Constitution and that a two-thirds parliamentary majority was needed for this to happen.
“The highest law in the nation is the Constitution. If ICERD is found to be going against the Constitution, then it would be automatically cancelled,” he said.
Khalid said the New Economic Policy (NEP) was not a policy that referred to Malay supremacy.
“It was a ‘social engineering’ effort to correct the imbalance in society and eliminate poverty, regardless of race.
“The NEP was established to encourage people from all races to benefit from development, as communities in those days tended to stick to certain areas, such as the Malays in villages, Chinese in towns and Indians in estates,” he added.
Khalid said the term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ was a new term that previously did not exist, but “was played up by Umno when they felt threatened”.
He accused Umno of betraying the Malays by taking advantage of and profiting from the NEP.
“Umno failed the Malays by making themselves rich, and after 60 years, it did not help the community reach its ideal level,” he said.
Khalid said the issue of ICERD going against the Constitution could be a matter of interpretation.
“The Bar Council could be of the opinion that it does not, but Umno would say that it does.”
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