Sunday, 1 March 2009

Nik Aziz says ‘bumiputera’ term is racist

MARCH 1 – In extraordinary remarks today, Pas spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat said the use of the term “bumiputera” smacks of racism and deprived other races of government aid.

His comments, made in Kota Baru today, will certainly spark debate, especially since it comes from a Malay leader who is widely respected even by his foes in Barisan Nasional and Umno.

In calling the term bumiputera racist, he appears to be drawing a clear line between his Pas party and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) from that of Umno, which has been championing the special rights of Malays.

Nik Aziz’s remarks was made in response over growing criticism from the conservative spine of Umno against comments made by DAP’s Dr Boo Cheng Hau, the opposition leader in Johor.

Dr Boo was reported to have compared “bumiputeraism” with apartheid.

Umno leaders have demanded an apology from Boo, and say his comments were a challenge to Malay rights and the constitution.

Umno’s Utusan Malaysia also described Boo’s remarks as a part of DAP’s agenda to form a republic.

But Nik Aziz was reported by Bernama as saying today that not only did the term smack of racism but deprived other races sharing similar rights and having the same identity cards of government assistance.

“In an election, other races are allowed to cast one vote, so are the bumiputera," he said.

Nik Abdul Aziz said the government should form a body to manage aid for the poor in the country and not cater only for a single group known as the bumiputera.

“I don’t like the (use of the) word bumiputera. What I like is (use of the word) poor, for all races,” he added.

He said the poor, regardless of their race, should be given assistance.

His statement appears to be also in line with Anwar Ibrahim’s concept of “Ketuanan Rakyat,” or supremacy of the people, which has been used to diffentiate PR parties from Umno’s “Ketuanan Melayu,” or Malay supremacy.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

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