Nurul Izzah wants Malay rights debate with Perkasa

By Yow Hong Chieh, The Malaysian Insider

“My question to Perkasa is,  spiritually and intellectually, does a Malay accepts injustices, power abuse, corruption, racism, anti-democratic laws, state institutional degradation to ensure that the Malays are a Supreme Race in Malaysia, with first class citizenship privileges not to be shared with other non-Malay citizens?”

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar today invited Perkasa to a public debate on Malay rights, contending that the question of Malay special rights should be put to the King and the people of Malaysia.

Her invitation to the Malay rights group appeared to be an attempt to contain Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s growing influence on policy by locating his discourse squarely within the democratic process.

Referencing Article 153 of the Federal Constitution – which Perkasa says grants “Malays rights” in perpetuity — Nurul pointed out that the article only specified that Malays be given a special position and should, in fact, to be interpreted in light of Articles 8(1) and 8(2) by the King or a body appointed by him.

Article 8(1) states: “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”; and Article 8(2): “Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.”

“It would be ideal to have a mandated entity such as a Constitutional Court or at least a Constitutional Council appointed by the King to act as the final interpreter of any constitutional issues,” Nurul said, adding that the judiciary, which already deals with constitutional matters, would also have a role to play.

Alternatively, she proposed a possible solution in the form of a legally binding referendum, while simultaneously challenging Perkasa to both a dialogue through open letters as well as a televised debate.

Nurul argued that “Malay rights”, as envisioned by Perkasa, were an ideological and philosophical construct that was not rooted in either the constitution or law.

“My question to Perkasa is, has the concept of ‘Malay rights’ now become a permanent convention that supersedes even the written constitution in policy and practice that has to be accepted by all non-Malay citizens?” she asked.