This badge of honour is a dubious one. So there is supposed to be affirmative action in terms of status, but in other areas like Malays in the SAF, our community is sidelined. We don't even have free education anymore. The irony of this whole protection of the Malay community under Article 152 actually makes us more a subject of criticism although we don't have much real privileges.
Yes the GRC is supposed to protect the interests of the non-Chinese minorities but the GRC system seems more like a poltical tactic rather than a structure to protect Malay interests. The stereotype is that the PAP counts on the vote of the Malay community. Whether that is true now nobody will know. We are just like any other community in Singapore - some will be pro-PAP, some will be anti-PAP, and most would have mixed feelings. BN's inability to hold on to the Malay vote in the last Malaysian elections tells us that there is a limit to race politics and voting anyway.
August 20, 2009 16:38 PM
Singapore Malays Hold Special Position
SINGAPORE, Aug 20 (Bernama) - The minority Malays in Singapore have a "special position" under the republic's constitution, according to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
He said the constitution of Singapore enjoined the government to give Malays a "special position" rather than to 'treat everybody as equal'.
Lee said this in Parliament on Wednesday when he rebutted as 'false and flawed' the arguments by Nominated Member of Parliament Viswa Sadasivan calling for equal treatment for all races in the city-state, the local media reported Thursday.
On Tuesday, Viswa tabled a motion for the House to reaffirm its commitment to principles in the National Pledge when debating national policies.
Lee, who is currently Minister Mentor, said the assumption of equal treatment for all races was "false and flawed" and "completely untrue".
According to government statistic for 2008, Singapore's population was about 4.8 million, with the Chinese forming the majority (76.7 per cent), followed by the Malays (14 per cent), Indians (7.9 per cent) and others (1.4 per cent).
He reminded everyone that Singapore's starting point was the racial clash and tense period of the 1960s after the republic was thrown out of Malaysia and until it got its independence.
Lee said the Malays in Singapore then were worried about the Chinese who formed the majority, and wondered whether the Chinese here would treat them the way the Malay majority in Malaysia had treated the Chinese minority there.
The minister also pointed to Article 152 of the constitution, which says that it is the responsibility of the government to "constantly care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore".
In particular, it states that the government must recognise the special position of the Malays, 'the indigenous people of Singapore', and safeguard their political, economic and educational interests.
Lee mentioned how the United States handled the race issue, where despite a 1776 declaration that "all men are created equal", blacks did not get the right to vote until a century later, and racial segregation continued well into the 20th century.
For Singapore to reach a point where all races could be treated equally "is going to take decades, if not centuries', Lee said.