Constitution guarantees rights of Malays without jeopardising others – Expert

Constitution guarantees rights of Malays without jeopardising others – Expert

KUALA LUMPUR,. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claim that efforts promoting a “Malaysian Malaysia” will destroy “Tanah Melayu” and replace it with a multiracial country is baseless from the aspect of the Federal Constitution, according to a legal expert.

Professor Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood, the head of National Professors Council (MPN) Governance, Law and Management Cluster, said Article 153 of the Federal Constitution recognises the special position and rights of Malays and Bumiputeras without denying others their rights, and therefore there can be no oppression of any race in the country.

“We live by the Constitution; all races enjoy equitable rights but the Malays enjoy privileges. We do not consider this nation as a Malay country; this is a multiracial country where the majority is Malay,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

The law lecturer at Taylors University said Article 153 of the Federal Constitution entrusts the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with the responsibility to protect the rights and privileges of Malays and Bumiputeras in the Borneo states as well as the legitimate interests of other races as specified in this provision.

“He (Dr Mahathir) was speaking in the political context of attempts to make this country multiethnic and sideline the interests of the Malay race, (but) this is difficult to be implemented because there are constitutional provisions which clearly state that Malay privileges are protected by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Conference of Malay Rulers,” he added.

In dismissing Dr Mahathir’s contention that disunity among the Malays would cause them to lose political power and dominance, Nik Ahmad Kamal said this was unlikely to happen because every government was bound by the Federal Constitution.

“In the Malaysian context, Malays form the majority race, so the issue of Malays being controlled by other races does not arise. Every government that comes to power, regardless of how many Malay component parties it has, is still bound by the constitution,” he said.

Nik Ahmad Kamal said it is indisputable that Malays enjoy dominance in the country because they comprise the majority in the Cabinet and the Prime Minister is a Malay.


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