Just Another Important Question… On Article 153

I realised that some in shock when DS Najib reminded not to question the social contract. In fact, I myself was quite suprised to hear DS Najib to utter those words. Suffice to say that since DS Najib stepped into the shoes as Prime Minister, we could hardly hear him saying things like this. Most of the time, he played safe games, a more soft words that hopefully could be understood by those who are concerned.

More than a year, after changes of words by those who are interested to question lots of things inside the Constitution, even from his side, finally he said it. Perhaps yes, JMD’s question is relevant, which in the same time the development puzzled my dear friend, dinturtle because his few articles have been hoping DS Najib to stand firm on something he  believes in, and hopefully also plays his trade as UMNO President.

Another part of the news that caught my interest is this news, reported by BERNAMA on the same day:

September 06, 2010 19:32 PM

Special Rights Cannot Be Erased Unless The Malays Agree To It – Analysts

By Haslinda Zainal

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 (Bernama) — The people, irrespective of their race, who question Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which spells out the special rights and privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, are blind about history and the constitution, analysts said.

Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim said the special position of the Malays was recognised way back since the British era.

“When the British came to Malaya, they found that there were already Malay governments in several parts of the peninsula, and the British recognised these governments.

“These governments took care of a large number of people (the Malays). For the British, these people had their special rights. But those who came and lived in Malaya were not subjects of the rulers and therefore, did not enjoy the same rights enjoyed by the Malays,” he told Bernama.

He said the non-Malays in the peninsula at that time were not citizens or subjects of the king, saying they only had the opportunity to apply for citizenship when the Federation of Malaya was formed on Feb 1, 1948.

“When the British planned the formation of the Malay Federation as a nation state, it was an extension of what already existed then, and by 1957, the Federal Constitution was formulated, incorporating the prevailing arrangement at that time,” he said.

The people, especially those from other races, should therefore respect the rights and privileges of the Malays as enshrined in the constitution because when it was first formulated, the various races had already agreed to what needed to be incorporated in it, he said.

“The special position of the Malays started since a long time ago and based on the system of government existed then. In the peninsula, nine Malay kingdoms existed since 1895, and continued to exist until today,” he said.

The Federal Constitution was formulated based on the recommendations of the Reid Commission. It took effect soon after the independence on Aug 31, 1957.

Article 153 spells out powers vested upon the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in safeguarding the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as the legitimate interests of other communities.

It also spells out in detail the functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in ensuring quotas for the Malays and Bumiputeras in the public service, scholarships, public education as well as the provisions of permit and business licence.

Dr Khoo said the reason why there were groups questioning the rights and privileges of the Malays was because the society of today was “blind about history”.

“They don’t understand (the constitution) and are ignorant of what they can or cannot do. There shouldn’t be any debate on the constitution because what is important is to follow what has been in use for so long,” he said.

He said that if the constitution was to be amended, it would require the agreement of two-third of parliament and should be consented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

He added that anyone wanting to abolish or amend Article 153 should obtain the agreement of the Malays and Bumiputeras, the agreement of two-third of parliament and the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“If Article 153 is to be amended or abolish, the Malays, as a whole, should first agree to it. If they feel that they are not ready for it, then it cannot be amended,” he said.

Last month, the MCA tabled 13 resolutions at the Chinese Economic Congress to strengthen the 10th Malaysia Plan, among them, asking the government to give importance to merit, not quota, to allow opportunities for all to compete in a fair and healthy manner.

The remark was seen by many as indirectly questioning Article 153 and the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in safeguarding the rights and privileges of the Malays.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, during a panel discussion on Malay unity in Ipoh last month, claimed the existence of a new constitution, which would expunge the special rights and privileges of the Malays, as well as provisions on Islam.

On Tuesday, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, wrote in The Malaysian Insider news portal, that the idea of Malay rights as advocated by the right-wing group Perkasa was “a mere ideological and philosophical construct” which was not rooted in the constitution.

Nurul Izzah also wrote that according to the Reid Commission that drafted the constitution, “Article 153 was intended as temporary preferences to seek racial parity, subject to be reviewed after 15 years by parliament as to its continued need”.

Political analyst Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Kling said Nurul Izzah should resign as an MP for making a wrong interpretation and for deceiving the people.

“She is ignorant and confused. She doesn’t know that the Reid Report contained only recommendations which has been amended by the White Paper on the Malayan Constitution, published in London,” he said.

Dr Zainal also called on the government to look into the statement by Nurul Izzah, saying those who questioned the rights and privileges of the Malays run the risk of violating the Sedition Act 1948.

“The government must scrutinise speeches like this whether they violated the Sedition Act. If it is, then those responsible should be brought to court,” he said.

Dr Zainal, who is a professor at the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), did not ruled out the possibility of moves, championed by non-Malays, to eliminate the Malay rights.

“It is like the foreign ideology prevailed in Singapore back in 1963 and 1964 which aimed at tearing Malaysia apart. The people should oppose the movement as it will only cause friction among them,” he said.

He said each citizen should adhere to the law and the Federal Constitution or else, their loyalty to the country could still be questioned.

“They become a citizen because the constitution allows them to, so they have to show respect to the constitution,” he said.

He said Article 153 of the constitution was also vital to protect and help the Malays and Bumiputeras, especially those in rural and remote areas.

“Villagers, Orang Asli, Bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak who are living in rural or remote areas must be assisted. The government must enforce Article 153 for the well-being of the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, a social science lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain said all races in Malaysia should respect the provisions in the constitution.

He said dissatisfactions over the constitution existed even during the fight for independence, but back then, it only involved the minority.

“Right now, the minority has gotten access to blogs and new media. Unlike previously, they now have the freedom of speech and what seems like a massive protest by many, is actually not the case,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Atory said other races should not question the Malay and Bumiputera quotas because only by having such privileges could the Malays compete with other races.

“Without the quota, other races will take all and leave nothing for the Malays. Had we denied others their rights, there would be no Chinese billionaires,” he said.

He said the government, as the executor of Malay rights and privileges, should have a certain mechanism to handle those who opposed the provisions stipulated under the constitution.

“The government should have a national programme. The history subject, for example, is important for the future generation to know about the history of independence,” he said.

He said the leaders who drafted the constitution back then had not anticipated that in future, some of the provisions would be opposed vehemently by the non-Malays.

“If they had anticipated what was coming, some of the issues could have been fixed, but what’s done cannot be undone,” he said.



The report are compilation of words from who have the knowledge and understand the history of what made Malaysia today. The words that caught my interest is:

“If Article 153 is to be amended or abolish, the Malays, as a whole, should first agree to it. If they feel that they are not ready for it, then it cannot be amended,”

The Malays as a whole? How we consider “as a whole” in today’s Malaysian political context? A uninamously agreed by all Malays or majority Malays agreed or the MPs that represent Malays agreed?

Why do I put it in three terms? Simple… our politicians have become too political and love to use big words and over stated supports that he or she or they received. Each win will be greeted as if won by more than 90% out of total. Each win as of shows a total 100% confidence in them.

Therefore, I’m more worried IF the interpretation of “Malays as a whole” is taken by number of politicians representing them later on.

It is not that I am worry Barisan will lost any of the next elections (they will if they still “sleeping”, and eventually things that start will have an end), but I’m more worried of the conditions of national state at that point of time. Will it be during the time that the poor will be not look after? Will it be the time that there are no concerns for those who left behind? Will it be the time that ownself success and wealth is more important than developing others? These are my concerns as the number and percentage (in whatever way you want to calculate) of poverty still majority made up by Malays and Bumiputeras.

And when a respectable person like Nurul Izzah unable to see why the Article 153 is important (especially now) to help the race that I believe made up majority of the total votes she got during GE12, I am dissapointed. Dissapointed in a sense that a Malay Muslim criticise the Article that provided some room of safety to her own race, when some non-bumi came up to defend.

What more Nurul Izzah has openly criticized our own defence capabilities abroad. For crying out loud, you are like inviting outsiders to attack and create chaos in Malaysia!!!

Dear YB Nurul Izzah and those who have forgot what made you being able to be where you are due to some room of safety provided by Article 153, I do pray that you will realise what you have done.

Just respect what have been agreed before. 30% is not bigger than 70%. Afterall, 30% is small portion for a group that made more than at least 51% of Malaysians.


My answer will be yes, but a short stinct only.

p/s: By the way, I’m also taking this opportunity to wish all readers Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and may we have a good raya celebration.

Maaf Zahir & Batin. 🙂


11 thoughts on “Just Another Important Question… On Article 153

  1. Salam ODS – to your question, NO. Remember what hadi said on the malay Rights issue ? Should PR wins, there would definitely be major changes in our political landscape and the end winner would be anyone’s guess.

    Know what, after the initial shock, one thing came to mind – Najib… u very sly one !

      1. i still dont trust Najib. Just bull talk to get Malay support. The way he said it and then connect with 1Msia ,,,, i dunno la, just doesnt rhyme. And then no response from kem LKS ….? takpe, kita tunggu lagi… kalau Najib benar2 ikhlas , kita akan dengar lagi ucapan2 yang senada.

        Orang yang bersemangat ni lain sikit pe’el dia berbanding orang yang cakap kosong. Given time, u can detect the inconsistencies in him, tengoklah…

  2. BN forgotten their main battle to win GE13… its not so much of race issue… its just political. BN should be more concenred on national issue… ant that will be to fight against CORRUPTION

    1. Hmm.. it seems now that Article 153 have been national issue to some.. and of course, corruption is still talk of the town, and Barisan seems to be not doing that well in this fight…

      Thank you for your comment, Kak Mantra. 🙂

  3. There’s no question of the Malays agreeing on any changes to 153, brother. Because there’s no question to question it in the first place.

    It’s bloody seditious to question it. Plain and bloody simple. No two-ways about it. The Sedition Act is loud and clear. 153 has been included in the List of protected items or whatever they call it under the Sedition Act.

    153 is just not bloody negotiable. (Sorry for the many bloody, brother, but they use very often in Englaaaand, too.) But, let there be not mistake about it. If anybody wants to play around with 153, it’s going to be bloody, I’m quite sure. The whole system of Malay Rulers, age-old Malay customs and traditions are all encompassed in 153. No, cannot touch. No, no, no as much as my name is Nono.

    I know Professor Khoo has good intentions. But I wanna let everybody know my feelings on this matter. Good that DS Najib has come out with the statement. It’s bloody high time, mate.

    Selamat Hari Raya to you brother, and to all those who respect the Malaysian Constitution fully.

    1. And I believe that he also “FORGOT” to mention how Bahasa Malaysia is also important?

      My friend,
      what was written in the article touched on the mentality.. and he does not state that we should only learn English to move forward.

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