Malaysia is a country of many races, ethnics, cultures, and languages.
But despite of the variety of races and religions of its people, there is only one race and one religion that is mentioned in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia which is the supreme law of the Federation; that is Malay and Islam.
The Article 3(1) of the Federation Constitution of Malaysia states that Islam is the religion of the Federation while the Article 153 of the Federal Constitution wrote about the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities.
Article 152 states that the Bahasa Melayu or the Malay language is the national language of Malaysia.
Not only “Malay” is specifically mentioned in the supreme law but the Federal Constitution also gives the interpretation of the Malays.
The Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution:
“Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom
So, that makes the Malays of Malaysia so unique, for it is the only race in this whole world that is legally bound to a religion, which is Islam, the religion of the Federation.
Islam, the Malay language and the special position of the Malays are not only protected by the Federal Constitution but are also protected by the Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act of Malaysia, which protects the four sensitive issues:
- Article 153: Special Rights For The Malays
- Article 152: Malay As The National Language
- Part III: of the Citizenship Rights
- Article 181: Rights, Status, Sovereignty Of The Malay Rulers
In respond to critiques regarding the Article 153, our great forefathers, Tun V. T. Sambanthan and Tun Tan Siew Sin said that the Malays are very charitable, polite and “generous enough to relax the citizenship laws of this country”.
If the Malays were not generous, the Chinese and Indians who were immigrants at the time, would not be given the citizenship of this country and therefore became stateless people.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia was based on the Social Contract where the Malays and the Malay Rulers agreed to accept the immigrant races to become citizens of Malaysia.
In the contract, it was agreed that while the immigrant races were given citizenship, the Malays who are the subjects of the Malay Rulers must be given special position.
The great Malay Rulers of nine Malay Kingdoms had sacrificed their own absolute powers over their own sovereign countries to unite into the Federation of Malaya, which later becomes Malaysia with the addition of Sabah and Sarawak.
With the motto, “Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu” or “Unity is Strength”, the Malay states becomes a Federation and is now a great country.