‘A non-Malay prime minister not improbable’

(NST) NIBONG TEBAL: Malaysia could one day have a non-Malay as Prime Minister, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said yesterday.

He said the Federal Constitution did not state that only a Malay could be elected to that post.

"What we need is for the majority of members of parliament to elect a non-Malay as prime minister and then submit the proposal to the king.

"The constitution allows such a change. But the Malays form the majority race in the country and hence the non-Malays should double their efforts — as my father (former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) urged earlier — to increase the population to 70 million."

Mukhriz said this during a 1Malaysia forum for youths here yesterday.


The event was organised by the state Unity and National Integration Department.

"Citizens in the United States have accepted a descendant from Africa as their president. They did not see him as a black or that there was an Islamic touch to his name, but they saw him as a citizen of the United States.

"The former prime minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra was of Chinese descent but the people accepted him as a Thai."

To a question from a participant who asked if the government could remove the "race" column in application forms, Mukhriz said it was necessary in certain forms to provide benefits to Bumiputeras, but not in others.

He also said the implementation of a single stream school could help the 1Malaysia vision be a success as it would nurture a sense of unity among students.

This way, students of different races could mingle and interact more effectively.

"It can be done, for example, by making Mandarin and Tamil languages elective subjects so that students can learn their friends' mother-tongues.

"It would be good if Malaysians can master Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil, thus achieving the objective of a harmonious 1Malaysia and to understand one another."

To prevent students from neglecting their mother-tongue, single stream schools must make it compulsory for them to take up their mother-tongues.

Mukhriz said the education system could bring all races together, through the sharing of culture and tradition, as well as prevent racial polarisation.

He said the single stream school proposal was stated in the Razak Report 1956, a year before the country gained independence.

"Tun Abdul Razak once said he hoped the single stream school would become a reality, but after 52 years of our country's independence, it has not materialised."