Najib seeks end to race debate

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak told his party today to end the debate on the special position of the Malays, which he pointed out could not be removed without the approval of the Malay Rulers.

The prime minister also gave a guarantee that the interests of the other communities also enjoyed similar protection, saying that it was part of the social contract agreed before independence.

“It was manifested through consensus that as an exchange for citizenship, the non-Malays accepted the principles of special rights as spelled out by Article 153 of the Federal Constitution,” said Najib (picture) in his policy speech at the start of the Umno general assembly here.

“This is the basis to the contract agreed by our founding fathers, representing different communities on the eve of independence,” he said.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to respect the consensus, because it is key to our survival,” said Najib who took over as party president in March last year.

He described the continuous discussion on citizenship and special rights as academic debates.

“Therefore we must realise that what is being debated today, whether about citizenship or the special position of the Malays is merely academic debate,” said Najib.