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Tun M Said Multiracialism Is Against Constitution, Legal Experts Disagree

Tun M Said Multiracialism Is Against Constitution, Legal Experts Disagree

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed that the Federal Constitution stressed on building a Malay Malaysia and not multiracialism.

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Bukit Gelugor UMNO Information Chief Huzaidi Hussin has urged former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to stop playing with racial sentiments and using the Malays for power.

Huzaidi also denied Mahathir’s claim that DAP has a significant influence on the unity government, citing DAP only holds four minister positions.

Mahathir said he was defending the Federal Constitution and claimed that promoting multiracialism in Malaysia is against the constitution.

He said that the Constitution stressed building a Malay Malaysia.

Mahathir’s response quickly garnered criticism from netizens while legal experts said Mahathir misunderstood the Constitution.

According to Free Malaysia Today, constitutional lawyer Bastian Pius Vendargon said Mahathir’s claim was incorrect as Article 8 of the constitution states that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection.

He added that the constitution does not seek to impose “Malayness” on others or exclude people of different ethnic backgrounds, although it recognized Malay rights and Islam’s special position.

Philip Koh, an adjunct professor at Universiti Malaya, said Mahathir’s interpretation of the constitution is a travesty.

Koh said the constitution promotes a democracy that is conducive to building a multi-ethnic country.

However, these constitutional recognitions do not negate the fact that, on the whole, the Federal Constitution is meant to protect a liberal democratic (political landscape). I’m not saying that valid contestations do not arise in any one instance as to how the constitution is interpreted, but to say that promoting multi-ethnic constitutional order is unconstitutional is a travesty of any interpretive approach (to the constitution).

Philip Koh, an adjunct professor at Universiti Malaya

Lawyer Lim Wei Jiet said the constitution has all the elements envisaging a multiracial Malaysia.

He added that just because the word “multiracialism” isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, it doesn’t mean it’s against the Constitution.

Lim said the Constitution has to be interpreted as a whole and not meant to be read as an ordinary statute.

While what Mahathir said was shocking, he still has his supporters too. Instead of speaking up, former law minister Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim defended Mahathir by listing the former PM’s contributions to the country.

However, he claimed that “others took advantage of him (Mahathir)” and those who benefited from Mahathir’s policies were an ungrateful bunch.

Zaid also said the Malay people would remember Mahathir.

READ MORE: Dr Mahathir Is Party-Less But Why Is He In The News So Much?

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