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Friday, 9 May 2008


Ikrar menjunjung Kedaulatan Perlembagaan di Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu di Johor Bharu, 4 Mei 2008

Tee Keat: Drop the ‘ketuanan’

KUALA LUMPUR: The phrase, ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy), should not be brought up any more as it creates the impression that one race is the master while the others are slaves, MCA vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat said.

Ong said the phrase had nothing to do with the Federal Constitution and was not something that needed to be said any more considering the special position the Malays already have.

“For other races, ketuanan (superiority) implies the word kehambaan (slavery). The root word of ketuanan is tuan (master), and that does not give it a good meaning.

“In Malaysia, we have lived together for so long and the relationship is not the same as between a master and a slave,” he said, after launching the 6th Golden Bull Award 2008 for Malaysia’s 100 outstanding small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

Ong said Malaysians had to move forward with more respect for each other and deal with more important issues.

When asked if he was afraid of any backlash, Ong said:

“What backlash? I’m speaking the truth.”

About the Golden Bull Award, Ong said it was to recognise the contribution of SMEs to the country and that as Transport Minister, he would ensure efficient transportation services so that SMEs could flourish.

Nanyang Press Holdings Berhad executive chairman, Datuk Paul Leong, said the awards ceremony would be held in conjunction with the Global SMEs Trade Fair 2008 that would be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in November.

Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Malaysians should not to be overly sensitive about the term ketuanan Melayu but view it positively from the angle of history and the Constitution.

He said it did not mean that Malays were the masters and non-Malays slaves.

“Let’s not politicise this until it reaches the level of a new polemics,” he told Bernama at the Parliament lobby.

He said all quarters should refer to history as the country had once been ruled by Malay Sultans and Rajas (Kings), who were the masters of the Malay lands but were willing to give up their powers to the people under the constitutional monarchy system.

According to the constitution, Ahmad Shabery said the Malay sultans and rajas were symbols of Malay supremacy in this country.

Ahmad Shabery added that Article 182 of the Federal Constitution also touched on the immunity of the Sultans and Rajas, which was an interpretation of the Malay supremacy term.(The Star Online 9 May 2008)

It is wise that any political leaders, irrespective of their political affiliations, should understand the meaning of Malay word/term, not only literally but also culturally before commenting on any issue related to Malay customs and cultures. In this particular word "ketuanan", it has a cultural meaning deep rooted in Malay tradition and its literal meaning, too has changed much through time. So much ado about nothing!

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