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Jakarta Post

The typical Malaysian problem

  • Anand Krishna

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 30 2010   /  12:52 pm

As pointed out by Azmi Sharom of University of Malaya in his dissertation (, "at the crux of the problem facing plurality in Malaysia" are the twin issues of race and religion. And its roots are found in the very constitution of Malaysia, which, in Azmi's words, "was and is a strange creature that combines liberal democratic ideals and what can only be described as racially based preferential treatment". The Malaysian constitution stipulates that "Islam is the religion of the federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the federation." Prior to Malaysia's independence in 1957, it was the Alliance Party (later Barisan Nasional) - consisting of the United Malay National Organization (UMNO), the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) and the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) - that had suggested the inclusion of this art...