The Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said in his policy speech at the party’s general assembly that the Malays had “accepted and they had never questioned” the social contract they agreed upon during the formation of Malaysia.
“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?
“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?
“If the Malay people are steadfast in their principles of upholding the agreement, we want to demand that they uphold their end of the bargain. Never again dispute what has been agreed upon,” said Khairy.
Khairy said it was a huge sacrifice for the Malays to allow other races to be a part of the country, so non-Malays must keep their end of the bargain and not question Malay rights.
“The demography of the nation changed drastically when the Malays opened the doors of the land to other races to build the nation together. We cannot imagine how big a sacrifice this is.
“So great were the sacrifices of the Malay people, and all that we ask in return is for the non-Malays to accept several of those matters which I just brought up as the other end of the bargain.”
Khairy also defended the existence of vernacular schools, saying that they were allowed as part of the “status quo” which had “existed pre-Independence, and which will continue to exist”.
Despite Khairy’s statement, some Umno grassroots leaders have in the past few months demanded that Chinese and Indian schools be shut down for the sake of national unity.
Last Sunday, a coalition of 58 Malay-rights groups repeated the call, and even urged Putrajaya to silence “radical” education organisations like Dong Zhong with the threat of de-registration.
Khairy conceded today that there were “fringe voices” questioning the existence of vernacular schools, but stressed that the Umno leadership has long accepted the current education system.
“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.
“If we do not want to bring up these matters of the things that have been given, do not question the special rights and privileges of the natives,” he said.