It is perplexing to hear politicians making silly demands that Malaysia’s Federal Constitution be amended to allow only an ethnic Malay to become prime minister.
Any political scientist or politician worth their salt would easily understand why the framers of the Constitution did not want to specify any race for the post of PM.
It is technically difficult to encapsulate the term Malay correctly.
Let us ponder over this issue: if the framers decided that only a Malay could be PM and framed it into the Constitution, we would then see former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose paternal grandfather came from Kerala, India, being called upon to prove he is a Malay and not an Indian Muslim before assuming the PM’s post.
Thus, if the Constitution had this restriction (for the post to be only for the Malays), Mahathir could have been barred from becoming PM if it was proven he was not a Malay.
So the final arbitrator would be the courts – and not the Malays or anyone else – to decide whether he is to be PM, just to satisfy the alleged condition set by the Constitution.
This was the main reason the framers did not want the Constitution to decide who would be PM based on race. They wanted the Malays who form the majority in the country and the Agong, with his royal prerogative, to decide who would be PM. They wanted the person who would be PM to be elected through the ballot box by the Malays themselves.
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The recent opinion on this ‘Malay-only PM’ issue by Mahiaddin Yasin is dubious. He knows there will never come a day that Malay MPs, even though they are from different parties, could be forced by the ethnic minorities into choosing a non-Malay PM.
Don’t forget, the Agong with his royal prerogative has the final say in this whole episode – period.
So the people are not so naive to fall for Mahiaddin’s bluff; perhaps members of Bersatu and Pas are.
Another silly comment was made by Pas deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man. He said this amendment should be carried out to ensure the country’s “stability and harmony“.
Surely Tuan Ibrahim should have known that the people have been living in relative peace and harmony all these years, without a Malay-only PM provision etched into the Constitution.
Perhaps Perikatan Nasional politicians should tone down their racial rhetoric.