Much ado about nothing of non-Malay becoming PM

IT IS really much ado about nothing over the controversy of the possibility of a non-Malay being the Prime Minister (PM) of the country.

From a constitutional perspective, there is no obstacle for a non-Malay in becoming a Malaysian PM. Theory aside, it is virtually impossible for a non-Malay to become the PM.

Given the institutional safeguards for the Malays, it is unthinkable for a non-Malay to become the PM. I don’t understand why politicians should bring up the matter of this possibility unless they have run out of ideas.

Regrettably, the issue of non-Malay PM has been seized by the opposition to come out with their pro-Malays perspectives.

Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin went to the extent of saying that as long as the DAP is in control of the government, this possibility cannot be discounted.

Others in the party have called for the Federal Constitution to be amended to ensure that the PM’s post is solely reserved for the Malays.

To defuse tension, Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu or popularly known as Mat Sabu went to the extent of highlighting the high birth rates among the Malays to showcase that there was no way any Chinese could aspire to be the PM.

Nevertheless, Mat Sabu did not touch on the Federal constitution to say whether it was possible or not for a non-Malay to assume that post one day.

Making mountain out of molehill

I don’t think PM Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can fault the opposition for politicising the possibility of the appointment of a non-Malay as the PM.

He made it simple and straightforward by saying that there is no way that a non-Malay could become the PM by emphasising the point that the PM of the country will always be Malays.

Like his friend Mat Sabu, Anwar failed to invoke the Federal Constitution in the on-going acrimonious debate about the possibility of a non-Malay becoming the PM of the country.

I don’t think it was right for Mat Sabu or Anwar to fault the opposition for touching on the subject of a non-Malay becoming the PM. The issue was brought up a veteran politician who is aligned with the present ruling government. Why he had to bring up this issue is unclear.

Of all the politicians, this person should have known that the opposition would be quick to capitalise on the issue. Of course, they being the opposition did what they had to do.

Amending the Federal Constitution to prevent the ascension of a non-Malay as the PM is totally unnecessary. It is like using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito.

Without even amending the Federal Constitution, there is a remote possibility of non-Malays even to think of becoming PM of the country.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

The ideological, institutional and political set up of the country are all stacked in such a manner to prevent the remote possibility of a non-Malay becoming the PM.

It might happen in a few generations time provided that Malaysians have overcome extremisms of race and religion. It took the a few centuries for a black American in Barack Obama to become the US president.

Similarly, it took the anti-apartheid movement long years of struggle to dismantle the racist system in South Africa that resulted in the appointment of Nelson Mandela as president of the country.

What was unthinkable happened in the US and South Africa. I am not saying that the unthinkable might happen in Malaysia.

Under the present political circumstances, however, it is unthinkable to have a non-Malay as PM of the country. What will happen in the future might be difficult to anticipate under the present circumstances.

Right now, it serves no purpose to pontificate on the issue of a non-Malay as the PM. Rather than focusing on this issue, wouldn’t it better and wise to dismantle the vicious and unproductive nature of institutional racism that is embedded in the country?

A system that gives rise pusillanimous politics that even the ambitious Madani government cannot transcend. – Dec 17, 2023


Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party) Interim Council.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit Jehh Jamil via YouTube

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