KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 ― Malay rights group Perkasa wants Putrajaya to be transparent on its considerations to the award of Bumiputera status to a community, amid clamour from the country’s Indian Muslims for it.
Perkasa founder and president Datuk Ibrahim Ali pointed out that the Bumiputera label ― literally sons of the soil ― is currently accorded to the original people of the land “regardless of their religion”, saying it was how the Sabah and Sarawak natives were also included as Bumiputera.
But he wanted to know the federal government’s criteria for deciding who gets to become Bumiputera.
“Will the consideration of Bumiputera status for Indian Muslims be based on religion or other reasons? Will Muslims of other races have a right to obtain Bumiputera status?” he asked in a statement today.
He further questioned if those born in Malaysia or those born overseas and become Malaysian citizens will later be entitled to claim Bumiputera status as well.
“This is a sensitive issue that has many implications and matters connected to the status of a race in Malaysia must be scrutinised from all aspects, including their acceptance from existing Bumiputera,” he said.
He urged the government not to be hasty in making a decision and said that Perkasa will support the government regardless of the outcome so long as the decision “is in line with the constitution, history and has everyone’s support”.
Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government will study the Indian Muslim community’s request to also be recognised as Bumiputera.
The Federal Constitution does not specifically mention Bumiputera. However, those considered Bumiputera have gained certain social and economic privileges over the years, including special allocations in education and in housing, including a 10 per cent discount.