This NGO Wants The Citizenship Given To Non-Malays From 1957-1970 To Be Reviewed

That's 1.75 million citizens of the country.

Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam (Bertindak) wants to challenge the citizenship granted to non-Malays between the years 1957 and 1970

Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam (Bertindak) spokesperson Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz

Image via Saw Siow Feng/ Malay Mail Online

The newly-formed Malay-Muslim coalition brought their intentions to light at a press conference at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman yesterday, 26 April, reported Malaysiakini.

According to its spokesperson, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, the group wants to challenge the citizenship of these Malaysians because it did not comply to the terms under the Federal Constitution.

"Schedule 1 of the Constitution is in relation to the taking of oath for citizenship. Between 1957 until 1970, 1.75 million citizenships bypassed this process of taking the oath.

"Therefore, this gives us the space to challenge and question the granting of the citizenship, once given to the non-Malays," said Khairul.

He referred to the matter as a legal issue that needs to be brought to court, saying "we want the court to decide".

After stressing that they are not out to target Hindus and Indians specifically, Khairul also criticised Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) and its chairperson P Waythamoorthy, for allegedly stirring up racial and religious tension against Malaysian Muslims.

Khairul said that Bertindak had a meeting to speak about all the legal options and actions regarding the matter before they execute any of it.

"Truthfully, legal violations were found, based on a research done. Therefore, we have been given the mandate to initiate legal action to question the granting of citizenship to non-Malays," added Khairul.

The Malay Mail Online reported that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali was at the press conference too. According to the English daily, he had said, "If you disturb us, we disturb you la".

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali

Image via Choo Choy May

Bertindak is a coalition that was formed on 26 April by a group of Malay NGOs, who have pledged to oppose "rude and dominant" people who question the rights of Muslims in Malaysia

The Malay Mail Online reported yesterday, 26 April, that the group's formation was sparked by recent events which saw Hindraf asking the government to send controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik back to India.

"But today’s meeting with its slogan 'Melayu Bangkit', is to remind and give a stern warning to the individual named P. Waythamoorthy and Hindraf, and those who behave like P. Waythamoorthy and Hindraf, to not continuously touch on Islam and Malay rights, akin to being thorn in the flesh."

"Because the effect of this can bring about untoward threats and we are worried that the black history of May 13 1969 would recur," said Khairul.

Bertindak said that Hindraf's move to question the government's decision of providing PR status to Zakir Naik has hurt Malay-Muslim sensitivities.

Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Zakir Naik fled his home country recently after India launched investigations against him and his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, for spreading terror propaganda

Dr Zakir Naik

Image via ASTRO Awani

The televangelist has refused to present himself before India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), claiming that he would be tortured if he goes there. So, instead he asked them to look for him in Malaysia and speak about the investigation on a "neutral ground".

Following that, news broke out about how the man has a permanent resident (PR) status in Malaysia. The matter was confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who explained that Zakir Naik was granted PR about five years ago.

Responding to Bertindak's interest to challenge the citizenship granted to non-Malays in the past, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, slammed the group, saying he was "disgusted at the racially insensitive and provocative act"

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman

Image via Youtube/The Art of Debating | Syed Saddiq at TEDxINTIIU 2016 (INTI International University)

"I am a Malay and Bertindak in no way represents the collective will of the Malay community. If anything, they’re a disgrace to the Malay community."

"I am a Malay but I’ll always be a Malaysian first. Malaysia celebrates unity in diversity," said Syed Saddiq, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.

"We have lived with one another as one people for decades. We have eaten together, gone to school together, worked together and even fought wars and conflicts together, yet these ungrateful Malaysians seek to erase the history of unity which unites us all under the Jalur Gemilang."

“I am sure that these ungrateful Malaysians in Bertindak were also taught by non-Malay teachers before. I am sure that they have non-Malay friends. I am sure that they’ve been treated by a non-Malay doctor before," added Syed Saddiq.

Cover image for illustration purposes only.

Do you think the government should check the citizenship granted to non-Malays as suggested by Bertindak? Let us know in the comment section below.

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