Malaysia also belongs to ethnic Indians, Chinese: Khairy

Last Updated 20 October 2010, 11:49 IST

"We must also empathise with the feelings of the non-Malays – when they are referred to as pendatang (immigrants) or told to return to China or India; what of their feelings? This too is their country.

This is their country of birth; in fact that of their parents and grandparents," Khairy Jamaluddin, youth chief of the largest Malay ruling political party UMNO said in his policy speech at the Umno Youth general assembly.

Ethnic Indians form eight per cent of Muslim majority Malaysia's 27 million people. Sixty per cent of the population is Malays who are all Muslims while 25 per cent is ethnic Chinese, mostly Christian or Buddhists. The ethnic Indians are mostly Hindus.

The early ethnic Indians came to the then Malaya, when they were brought here by the British as indentured labourers.

Non-Malays have often alleged that the Malays, because of the government's affirmative action policy, had benefited more especially in jobs, education and scholarships.

"What of the feelings of the poor non-Malay student denied government scholarship despite achieving outstanding results? We often hear of grouses about how the Government administration is dominated by Malays.

Are we to believe that there are but a few non-Malays qualified to hold senior positions in the civil service?" Khairy said, adding that the  barriers that separate Malaysians only become "higher and thicker" when each person failed to understand and appreciate the feelings of other races.

Prime Minister Najib Razak is propagating a 1Malaysia policy encompassing all the races, since he came to power.

"The 1Malaysia concept needs to be held as a shared aspiration amongst all races. Community life in a multi-ethnic country certainly demands much patience and courtesy from everyone. We should not hastily pointing fingers at each other in the face of any issue, big or small," Khairy said.

He added that the Malay and Bumiputra (literally sons of the soil as the Malays are referred to) agenda would continue to be the main thrust of Umno Youth's struggle but the approach needed to be changed.

(Published 20 October 2010, 11:49 IST)

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