I WILL meet the police in next few days on my remarks to Malaysian students in Manchester at the end of last month (November 2023). I was accused of making provocative remarks when I said that the Federal Constitution provides that a non-Malay can be a Prime Minister (PM). There was no such intention.
The Malaysian Constitution is a non-provocative document, the basis on which Malaysian unity must be founded.
I believe one way for UMNO to establish its relevance to the Malay race and the Malaysian nation is to return to original nation-building principles as championed by the first three PMs of Malaysia who themselves were UMNO presidents, namely Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak Hussein and Tun Hussein Onn.
I believe that Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein were not being provocative when they supported and provided in the Malayan and later the Malaysian Constitution that a non-Malay could be a PM of Malaysia.
I agree with commentators that at present, the statement that a non-Malay could be a Malaysian PM is a “statement of fact” but not a “statement of reality”.
This is why I said In Manchester: “In the US, it took 230 years for a Black American to become the US president. I hope that Malaysia will not take 230 years for a non-Malay to become a PM but in the next 100 years, I do not expect this to happen.”
If in 1860s, Americans were asked whether a Black American can become the US president, the answer will be a universal “No”. But some 150 years later, a Black American Barack Obama became the 44th US president in 2009.
This was why I said in Manchester: “I was accused of wanting to be a PM of Malaysia. This thought never entered my mind because under the present circumstances, it was not possible. We must have a situation where the majority of Malaysians whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Dayaks dream the Malaysian Dream and not a mono-ethnic dream.”
Why was it possible to provide in 1957 in the Malayan Constitution and later in 1963 in the Malaysian Constitution that a non-Malay could become a PM and not be regarded as “provocative” but six decades later, it becomes “provocative” to explain what is in the Federal Constitution?
Was it wrong to say that the Federal Constitution, the Rukun Negara and Vision 2020 with its nine strategic challenges provide for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysian Dream as opposed to a mono-ethnic dream?
For the last five years, Malaysians have allowed themselves to be bamboozled into being obsessed with “2R” questions of race and religion, believing that a race or a religion is facing existential extinction.
No race or religion in Malaysia is facing existential threat or extinction. As the Sultan of Selangor said in a recent interview, Malaysia is a melting pot of various cultures that has been preserved since Independence and that the country must continue to defend its multi-cultural values and background which remains one of the strengths that unite country.
The Selangor ruler went on to say that there are no pendatang in Malaysia as the Malay rulers have accepted all, including the non-Malays, as citizens.
Malaysia has the qualifications to be a role model to the world in inter-ethnic, inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-civilisation dialogue, understanding, tolerance and harmony. Let us all work for Malaysia to rise up again as a world-class nation and to be “Instant Asia”! – Dec 11, 2023
Retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang was Malaysia’s longest serving opposition leader of 29 years on three separate occasions.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.