Umno reps want bigger shield for Malay rule

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

Riding on the Umno president’s guarantee that the Malay constitutional position cannot be reviewed, delegates at the party’s general assembly urged the party leadership today to enhance the protection of Malay political power.

In doing so, Negri Sembilan representative Datuk Jalaluddin Alias asked the party to review the seat allocation agreement among the Barisan Nasional (BN) parties in Peninsula Malaysia.

The Jelebu Umno vice-chief said the coalition must field candidates based on their ability to win and not according to the coalition’s quota.

“We must review the quota system. Yes, we have an agreement with the component parties, but the results of the 12th general election were not because of Umno but because of weaknesses of BN component parties,” Jalaluddin told the assembly when debating the president’s policy speech today.

 “If in constituency A, the winnable candidate is a Malay from Umno, we should field the Umno candidate,” he added.

Umno, the largest BN component party, is now represented by 78 members in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat, while MCA has 15, MIC four and Gerakan two.

The three non-Malay parties lost heavily in urban areas in Election 2008 while Gerakan lost the state of Penang and was almost wiped out.

Jalaluddin also warned non-Malay BN parties to stop questioning the rights of delegates at the Umno assembly to talk about Malay interests.

“The president said don’t be racist, we obeyed. But MCA president said do not discuss social contract openly,” he said referring Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek’s remarks yesterday suggesting that sensitive issues should only be debated behind closed doors.

“This is an assembly of Malays to discuss Malay issues. What’s wrong with me talking to my wife to talk about household affairs?” said Jalaluddin.

“I am not upset, but please don’t question on our rights like how we never questioned the rights of other races,” he added.

 When opening the Umno general assembly yesterday, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had called for an end to the race debates, saying that the special position of the Malays was part of the social contract agreed before independence in exchange for citizenship for the non-Malays.

He stressed that the issues were enshrined in the Federal Constitution and cannot be amended without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

 At the same time, Najib also called on the Malays to be prepared for a new era of race relations and to compete in a more meritocratic environment.