IT is said that Melayu mudah lupa (Malays forget easily).
According to the 2010 National Census, Malays form 50.4% of the population in Malaysia.
In the 2020 National Census, delayed by the pandemic, Malays have been classified under the Bumiputera (sons of the soil) political label alongside other Muslims, Orang Asal (indigenous people in Borneo) and Orang Asli (indigenous people in West Malaysia).
The Malay number in the population remains unknown as there’s no ‘ethnic’ breakdown in the figures.
Article 160(2) defines ‘Malay’ as an inclusive form of identity for Muslim including converts domiciled or born in Singapore or Malaya by Merdeka (Independence) Aug 31, 1957. Their descendants are also Malay.
It is said the National Registration Dept (NRD) has since dropped Malay from the chip on the national identity card, MyKad, but retains Islam on the front.
This allows Muslim nationwide including allegedly illegal immigrants who habitually speak the Malay language to consider themselves Malay.
In law, there may be constitutional issues with the Malay definition in the Constitution which remains colour blind.
The Agong may be the only exception on the Melayu mudah lupa theory.
He said before UMNO vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was appointed Prime Minister on Aug 21 that the latter must face a confidence motion in Parliament when it reconvenes on Sept 13.
Parliament adjourns sine die before Christmas Day.
Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution gives the Agong the power to appoint a Prime Minister.
Article 43 (2)(b) provides for the appointment of the Cabinet as well.
Article 43(4) covers a Prime Minister who ceases to have majority in Parliament.
Article 39 – ‘Executive authority of Federation’ – states that Agong can exercise executive authority or delegate such powers to a Prime Minister and Cabinet, a Minister authorised by Cabinet, or Parliament may by law confer executive functions on other persons.
‘Malay First’ Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin resigned as Prime Minister on Aug 16 after it became clear that he would not survive a confidence motion in Parliament.
He headed an all-Malay, all-Islamic, all-Bumiputera Federal Government formed on March 1, 2020.
It was driven by the idea of ketuanan Melayu (Malay political supremacy and dominance) and rooted in Malay nationalism, a concept created by Malayalee Muslim from Kerala, southwest India, in Singapore.
The Agong further decreed, in advising Ismail Sabri, that ‘the winner does not win all, the loser does not lose all’.
Muhyiddin, before he resigned, reached out to the Opposition with a Seven-Point Plan which was an exercise in futility.
The majority non-Malay Opposition read the offer as too little, too late, and a ‘last minute desperate attempt to save himself’.
Muhyiddin has a good track record as an able and experienced administrator in Johor and Putrajaya.
Unlike Mahathir, he worked closely with Singapore whereas Mahathir felt that Singapore made Malaysia look bad and was benefiting at the latter’s expense by exploiting every weakness.
However, it’s the stark reality that Muhyiddin has been found wanting during the pandemic.
To be fair to him, anyone would have been found wanting during these trying times. Still, he could have done better but failed to do so.
Politics may have gotten in the way, and good governance, science and data took a back seat.
The virus cases raged, the economy continued to head south, and the people’s suffering increased exponentially.
The public bayed for Muhyiddin’s blood. – Sept 7, 2021.
Joe Fernandez is a longtime Borneo watcher and a regular FocusM contributor.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.