Updated 12:55pm, 14 Oct 2009
Khairy delivering his speech
KUALA LUMPUR, 14 Oct 2009: In a bold and surprising move, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has called for his party to ditch “Malay dominance” and replace it with “Malay leadership” in order to reframe its nationalist agenda.
“We can continue with the chest-thumping rhetoric, warning other races never to challenge this or that … But, we must ask ourselves, is this what Malaysians — Malays included — really want from Umno?” he said in his maiden policy speech as Youth chief today.
Speaking at the Youth meeting at the party’s 60th general assembly, Khairy also urged Malay Malaysians to defend the rights of all Malaysians, saying this would only encourage mutual respect.
Khairy’s is a departure from his predecessor Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s speeches. Hishammuddin invited public wrath by unsheathing the keris at two consecutive Umno Youth assemblies and defending “ketuanan Melayu”.
Hishammuddin later apologised to non-Malay Malaysians for making them uncomfortable with this gesture following the Barisan Nasional’s bruising defeat at the March 2008 general election.
Khairy this morning, instead, called for Malay Malaysians to abandon the perception that Malay rights and privileges were constantly being challenged.
“Undeniably, we consider Article 153 [of the Federal Constitution], which guarantees the special position of Malay [Malaysians] and [bumiputera] as sacrosanct. However, if we scratch beneath the surface, we would find that it is almost impossible for Article 153 to be stripped from the [constitution], as it would require the approval of two-thirds of Parliament,” he said.
Khairy went on to say that Article 153 alone could not determine the well-being and development of the Malay race. He said instead the abilities and achievements of Malay Malaysians would cement their race’s prestige.
The notion of “kepimpinan Melayu“, rather than “ketuanan Melayu”, was previously publicly mooted by former and respected Utusan Melayu editor Said Zahari.
The idea was also taken up by Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in November 2008 but Hishammuddin vilified him for it, saying Chua should just join the opposition instead. A Malay rights group also demanded that Chua apologise for “inciting” Malay Malaysians, and Chua came under fire in the Malay-language press.
Some of the same
Delegates acknowledging 1Malaysia
Khairy presented this unexpected departure from the usual ultra-Malay nationalist script expected of Umno Youth in the second half of his speech. The first half was spent praising Prime Minister and party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept.
He also spent some time attacking the component parties of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.
“PAS steered away from its original core when the Islamic state ceased to be a key party agenda,” he said, to raucous cheers from the more than 500-strong Youth delegation.
He accused the DAP of being monoracial in character with “the chimera of a multiracial platform — when it truth, DAP’s priorities are unmistakably racial”.
He also criticised Parti Keadilan Rakyat for being a party without an ideology, which was focused more on the personality of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“Anwar tries to position himself as many things: the voice of the marginalised, a champion of Islam, the Malay [Malaysians] and human rights. But is this truly Anwar Ibrahim, or is his political struggle motivated solely by personal ambitions?” he said, to thunderous applause and jeers of “pungkok (backside)” and “dia cucuk dari belakang”.
The crowd went silent during the second half of Khairy’s speech, which called for a more inclusive Umno Youth, but greeted his conclusion with a standing ovation and shouts of “Hidup Umno!”
Khairy receives a standing ovation
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Yg benor says
Beware of KJ’s rhetoric. He may say one thing today and do another the next week. This is Umno Youth trying to entice the young and vulnerable for the coming 13th general election. I would think twice before [heeding] his call. I just don’t trust Umno, period.
I don’t like this man. In fact, I despise him. But lets give jhim] his due. I would like to congratulate KJ for his courage in departing from the usual Ketuanan Melayu rhetoric. Syabas! Now, let’s see where we go from here.
Nicholas Aw says
A great maiden speech from the new Umno Youth leader befitting of an Oxford graduate. If it’s a speech of sincerity that calls for Malaysian unity and Malay leadership, then it’s something that all Malaysians can look up to. KJ’s stand is far from the keris-wielding Hishamuddin, which brought the people’s wrath and was one of the factors that contributed to BN/Umno’s shocking loss in the last general election.
However, the rakyat are wary and cautious of such rhetorical speeches as such speeches usually turn out to be nothing more than political to win support. Nonetheless, let us give the benefit of the doubt to KJ and give him a chance to prove himself.
The people hope that the BN/Umno have learnt their lesson well and not harp on sensitive issues. We want a clean and efficient government which can bring this country to greater heights. We have had enough of people like Penangâ€™s Ahmad Ismail and “close-one-eye” Mohd Said. The likes of them should be flushed out once and for all.
The people are more educated now and are aware of their rights. Should the BN/Umno resort to uncalled-for tactics, they can be absolutely sure that they would be shown no mercy at the ballot box.
Syabas KJ. Now itâ€™s time to walk the talk.
victor tan says
I love how he attacks the DAP as racial while asking Umno to be non-racial. This man is pathetic… don’t forget that he was also implicated for money politics sometime back.
Perhaps he could give some specific examples of how the DAP can be more non-racial.
I think KJ is not mature enough in politics to give public speeches. It is not the right time for him to be in high profile. Maybe in another 10 years he would be able to lead …
Just like any other political utterance. All politicians have one thint in common: thick skin and short memory span. Developments from MCA tomorrow will attest to this.
How are we ever going to be a 1Malaysia when everyone is STILL talking about race? Kepimpinan MALAYSIA. Bangsa MALAYSIA. Isn’t that ONE Malaysia?
While I do not like KJ personally, he did say all the right words.
And on the DAP’s monoracial accusation, we must admit that there is some truth to it. I mean, a few weeks ago, the DAP opened an Ampang branch for its Malay [Malaysian] members. Why the need to create a branch based on race, if it is indeed race-blind?
Although the notion of “kepimpinan Melayu” rather than “ketuanan Melayu” is most admirable, in the linguistic cosmopolitan habit of Malaysia to mix languages … I can’t help but immediately think “pimp Melayu”, or the pimping of Melayu! 🙂
After two long days, it is clear that KJ does not get much support from within his party about his Kepimpinan Melayu idea. It was also not highlighted in Utusan.
I have a feeling that the idea is not popular at all with the delegates. Reform? What reform?
Syabas, KJ, for trying. Now watch your back!
cicak kering says
All the trappings for “ketuanan” Melayu are still there, e.g. the civil service, Risda, Felda, police, army, scholarships, etc. If Malay [Malaysians] can be recruited overnight to fill up all these institutions, then non-Malay [Malaysians] can also be recruited overnight too, i.e. if the government is sincere about 1Malaysia. We have watched for 50 years how [Umno went from moderate to racist]. We will have to wait another 100 years if the present incumbents are still there, giving excuses that they are making change “step by step”. The apartheid [regime] in S Africa had to be kicked out before apartheid can be overthrown. This has to happen in Malaysia. The present incumbets were brought up in apartheidism and have benefitted enormously from it. Why should they give it all up and “compete?”
Anyway the younger Umno-putras are jealous of the easy wealth and power of their older putras.They also want some of the easy money and power! So, all in all, all this talk is hot air. Nothing will be done to change the status quo of the Malay [Malaysians]. Dr M will be the leader of this opposition to Khairy. He and his cronies were the greatest beneficiaries of the NEP […]. To get rid of apartheidism, the whole BN must go. Even then the seeds of facism have been sown. Will it germinate or will it die. The people must decide, esp the non-Malay Malaysians.