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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ku Li wants Burhanuddin Helmy's 'Malay citizenship' considered

 


Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's suggestion to revive the political figure Burhanuddin al-Helmy's idea to give "Malay citizenship" to everyone regardless of race has been heavily criticised, but he hoped that relevant parties would consider it.

The Umno Gua Musang MP, fondly known as Ku Li, raised the matter in a talk show "Minda Profesor Negara" last week.

He had cited Indonesia as an example, where it only uses one name of one race as a national identity, regardless of the person's actual race or ancestry.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, Ku Li said Burhanuddin's idea, which was proposed before Merdeka, is the answer to untangle the conflicts caused by the differences among races in the country.

"This is a suggestion for us to think and consider. For how long do we want to accuse one another?

"Whether we like it or not, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Kadazans, they are all part of the rakyat here (in the country), so we have to live together.

"Do we want to question other people's ancestry differently from ours? So don't simply refuse (the idea), think about it," said the Umno advisory board chairperson.

The "Malay citizenship" idea for all races was included in the People's Constitution (Perlembagaan Rakyat) by the coalition of the Pusat Tenaga Rakyat (Putera) and All-Malaya Council of Joint Action (AMCJA).

Tan Cheng Lock (at the microphone)

Burhanuddin and Chinese community leader Tan Cheng Lock had co-chaired the coalition.

The coalition founded the People's Constitution in 1947 which contained 10 core principles to replace the Malayan Union.

The sixth principle in the People's Constitution outlined equal citizenship to all who consider the Malay land as their permanent place to stay and willing to devote their undivided loyalty to it.

The ninth principle said the Malay citizenship must be named Malay.

Explaining further, Ku Li said the name "Malay citizenship" is to be used since the majority of people in this country are Malay.

"So if we take that name to be used in citizenship, the Malays, regardless of their bloodline, (be it) Chinese, Indian, as long as they are Malaysians, they are given the Malay citizenship, what's wrong with that?

"China has Chinese, India has Indians, and Malaysia has Malays, what's wrong with that?" Ku Li asked.

On the idea being criticised, Ku Li stressed that he is only suggesting a way to solve the racial divide and the "Malay citizenship" concept could be studied in detail by experts on how it could fit the Federal Constitution, including addressing the issues of bumiputera rights and traditions.

"I don't have the power to push anyone. This idea was mooted even before Independence. I think it's good for us to consider.

"We have many experts to study this. If it can't be done, then it's okay," Ku Li said.

The People's Constitution became just a history after the British banned associations within Putera-AMCJA when it declared an emergency in 1948.

The Federal Constitution today was amended from the original draft by the Reid Commission, accepted by the British Parliament in June 1957, and officially enforced on Aug 31 the same year.

It was amended to become the Malaysia Constitution, effective Sept 16, 1963, when Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak became part of Malaysia. Then, in 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent state. - Mkini

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