KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The Malay Dignity Congress was organised in response to certain “non-Malay” quarters challenging the rights and positions of the Malays, event secretariat chief executive Zainal Kling has claimed.

The academic was reported saying that the event will address Malay-centric issues, including Islam and Malay culture, in an intellectual manner rather than succumbing to emotions.

“Many of the questions not only belittle Malays but also question the Malays’ Bumiputra rights, the position of the royalty, belittle and question Islam, and also cultural issues such as the national language.

“This is why we are organising the congress... Because all the questions have challenged Malay dignity so much so that they do not only feel challenged but also played, belittled and underestimated,” he reportedly told Malaysiakini.

He however did not elaborate further on those he was referring to.

Zainal claimed that the programme’s goal is to ensure unity amongst the different ethnic groups in Malaysia, and that the nation should be defined by the Federal Constitution.

He added that non-Malays should accept Islam as the religion of the federation, Bahasa Melayu as its national language, and the special rights and privileges of the Malays — instead of what politicians claim Malaysia shouuld be.

The congress is organised by University of Malaya’s Malay Excellence Studies Centre in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, and the Sultan Idris Education University.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to speak at the event and will discuss on issues involving education, religion, culture, politics and the economy from a Malay perspective.

It was originally planned to be held at Axiata Arena Stadium in Bukit Jalil but has been relocated to Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam.

Zainal also denied accusations by Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin that universities involved in the event were manipulated by Pakatan Harapan.

“We are our own thoughts, we do not want to be tools,” he reportedly said adding that the universities involved in the event have their own Malay cultural institutions.

The presence of the prime minister was only to ensure the congress’ resolutions reach the corridors of power, he said.