KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 ― The non-Malays must do their part and honour the pledges of their ancestors when they were granted citizenship during the formation of the country, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
He said Malaysia's multi-cultural society has long been guided by the social contract drawn up between the Malays and the Chinese and Indian communities who opted to take up citizenship in the early days of the country’s formation.
“However, why are there still those who do not respect this agreement? If the Malays can accept it by not raising the matter of citizenship and acknowledging that we cannot shut down vernacular schools, why are there those among non-Malays who refuse to honour what they have previously agreed upon?” Khairy said in his policy speech at the start of the party wing's general assembly.
“Why are there those who ask for the Malay special privileges to be stopped, those who dispute the position of the Malay rulers and even those who cannot speak a word of the national language?” he continued.
If the Malays remain steadfast in their principles of upholding the agreement, the non-Malays should then do the same and hold up their end of the bargain, Khairy said.
“Never again dispute what has been agreed upon. We are not demanding that they give up what they already have, but merely to keep to what we all have agreed together,” he said.
Despite a clutch of “fringe voices” who continue to challenge the country’s recognition of mother tongue education, Khairy said there is no threat to vernacular schools in Malaysia.
Even Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has made it a point to provide special allocations for vernacular schools every year under the national budget, he added.
“It is already forged in the laws of the land and not even the Minister of Education can change the fate of the vernacular schools,” Khairy said.
The youth leader lamented that despite efforts to promote national integration over the years, there are still many who have a poor command of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.
Homing in on school leavers drafted into National Service, Khairy said many from vernacular schools were found to be unable to converse in Malay.
“Vernacular schools should be continued but we have to do something to strengthen national unity in this country. Everyone should be part of this process of integration, and not remain in their silos.
“Show a bit of love for your country. Do not grumble about it if you refuse to stand when the Negaraku plays around you. Show the world that we are not divided by our ethnic silos, we are the citizen of Malaysia!” he said.