Over 5,000 participants clad in red attended the 'Malay Dignity Congress' yesterday, 6 October, together with prominent political leaders from both the government and the opposition
Held at Malawati Stadium, Shah Alam, the event discussed various matters concerning Malay-Muslims, including, but not limited to, the sovereignty and special position of the Malay race, Malaysiakini reported.
Five pro-Malay resolutions were presented by different groups to the Pakatan Harapan government, and the event also heard a hardline speech from academic Zainal Kling.
According to New Straits Times, the event was organised by four public universities:
- Universiti Malaya (UM),
- Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI),
- Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), and
- Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
It was attended by various government top brass and opposition leaders, including Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, Bersatu's Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, UMNO secretary-general Annuar Musa, and former minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
1. Academic Zainal Kling said that 'Malaysia is for Malays' and that the social contract with non-Malays can be terminated
Zainal, who is also the chief organiser of the congress, reminded non-Malay citizens that the country could always suspend them if the group breaches their social contract since Malays are the rightful owners of the land, reported Free Malaysia Today.
"Despite our overtures, there are those who went off-track, who wanted to manipulate us, who wanted to undermine our dignity, mock our religion, the Malay rulers and the Malays' special position, and turn their backs on the social contract which is the basis for the Federal Constitution," he said.
He said if the non-Malays continue to transgress the agreements in the Federal Constitution, then they will have to return to Allah's way and, as granted in verses three and four of Surah Tawbah in the Quran, suspend the contract.
He also drew a comparison to other countries, saying Malaysia is for Malays just as Thailand is for the Thais, China for the Chinese, and India for the Indians.
2. Five resolutions were presented by students and a PAS member, focusing on five different clusters
(i) Education cluster:
On the education cluster, UPSI physical education graduate Nurul Fatin Aqilah Rahim asked for the abolition of vernacular schools, which should gradually materialise by 2026, reported New Straits Times.
"Vernacular schools do not promote unity as they use their respective mother tongues as the main language," Nurul Fatin reasoned, adding that the Vision School Policy (Dasar Sekolah Wawasan) should be institutionalised in stages.
She also added that more scholarships should be given to Bumiputera students and people in the B40 range.
The Star reported that Nurul also called for Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships to be "returned" to the Malays and Bumiputera via the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exams and that only high-performing Malays should be exempted from repaying their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans.
(ii) Religion cluster:
On the religion cluster, PAS Youth deputy chief Ahmad Fadhil Shaari demanded that all top government positions be held only by the Malays.
"This includes positions such as Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Chief Secretary, Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Defence Forces and other strategic positions such as the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and Menteris Besar, Finance Minister, Defence Minister, and Education Minister," said Ahmad Fadhil, who is also the member of parliament (MP) for Pasir Mas.
He also urged Bar Council, Suhakam, and "liberal" non-government organisations (NGOs) not to meddle in Islamic matters.
(iii) Economy cluster:
On the economy cluster, UiTM student Muhammad Syafiq Jebat said the government must improve the socioeconomic well-being of Malays without sidelining other races.
He said it could be achieved by providing special upskilling training for the Malays in the workforce, strengthening Malay economic institutions and government-linked companies, and setting up a special commission to monitor these entities.
The law student stressed that the government must work on reducing the income disparity between the Malays and people from other races.
(iv) Political cluster:
On the political cluster, UM's Malay Studies Academic Fellow Abdul Muqit Muhammad blamed the Malay leaders for the current political situation for the Malays, reported Malaysiakini.
"I am placing the fault with the Malay leaders, be it those in power or those who have lost power, be it UMNO or not UMNO," said Abdul Muqit.
"They need to take responsibility for the abandonment of the Malays recently," he said, citing the remaining small percentage of Malay reserve land in the country as an example.
(v) Cultural cluster:
Lastly, UPM counsellor Muhammad Za'im Rosli told the government to take stricter action against individuals or groups that interfere with affairs and issues involving the Islamic religion as it breaches Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution.
"We must reject any effort by outsiders to spread ideologies and teachings which deviate from Islam and the Malay culture," he elaborated.
On the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, Muhammad Za'im said the Education Ministry should focus on Jawi scripts "to prove the government's commitment", reported Malaysiakini.
He said those who oppose the inclusion of the Jawi script in official businesses should face the music as well.
3. Dr Mahathir said the government will consider the resolutions, but not all will materialise
"There is a demand, but it doesn't mean that the government has to accept the demands. We have to look into what we can do and what we cannot do," Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Star.
The 94-year-old premier admitted that the Malay element in the ruling government today is not as strong as Barisan Nasional's administration despite being led by Malay leaders, reported New Straits Times.
Dr Mahathir said this was a result of the Malay community being divided into multiple political parties, causing the Malays to be left behind economically and politically.
"It is us who broke away from each other. We are now in small groups and are fighting with each other and this is why we have to rely on others for victory," said the premier, referring to the Pakatan Harapan coalition which is made up by Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and Parti Amanah Negara.
"Like it or not, now we have to consider the feelings of others or else, we will lose in the election and that's a fact.
“When we rely on others, one way or another, we will be indebted to them and we will be afraid to lose their support because it will mean losing our positions.
"Because of this, we have betrayed the powers given to us to the point that our dignity is being insulted and we are looked down upon in our own country," said Dr Mahathir.
4. Dr Mahathir urged Malays to work harder to regain their dignity
Instead of relying on the government, Dr Mahathir told the Malay community to work harder to restore their honour, reported New Straits Times.
"On many occasions, we start the event with doa (prayers) seeking protection, blessing and many other things from Allah," said Dr Mahathir.
"We, however, should remember that God will not provide assistance unless we, ourselves, take the initiative and work hard to improve our fate. And, this is enshrined in the Quran.
"I have faith in this congress that it was organised to look for ways that we can ourselves embark on actions to improve the fate of the community."
Dr Mahathir said Malays refused to take up jobs in the labour workforce, which has been dominated by foreigners.
He lamented that Malays deem these jobs as hina (demeaning), berat (heavy), and kotor (dirty), which led to the slip of opportunities.
"And, people who take up such work later progress ahead, subsequently improve their position in the community.
"Are we (the Malays) that bacul (coward) to engage in this kind of work?
"We must accept that this is what happening today or we will not able to restore our pride and dignity," he said.
The premier said the Malays' fate can only be changed by themselves, and not by the congress nor the government's assistance, especially if they continuously refuse to take on opportunities and strive for achievements.
5. Meanwhile, almost 200 participants were affected by food poisoning after leaving the congress
Selangor Health Director Datuk Dr. Khalid Ibrahim revealed that the nasi lemak served at the congress was found to be the cause of food poisoning affecting 197 participants, reported Bernama.
"All of the victims were university students who ate the nasi lemak when they arrived for the programme this morning," said Dr Khalid.
"The cause of the poisoning is obtained based on five nasi lemak samples that were left at the location of the event."
The victims were sent to Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, Shah Alam Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital, and the Petaling District Health Centre for treatment.