ARTICLE 153 & THE CASE OF THE BUMIPUTERA

Constitution of Malaysia 1957

Bumiputera translated in English means ‘Native.’

Protest for a different constitution [that the Malay aristocracy opposed ] that would give the Indian and Chinese full and equal rights in 1947

This is not reflective of the Author’s Static Opinion, but a discourse to explore and consider. In the words of Thomas Kuhn, a paradigm shift accompanies every scientific revolution only to be dispersed into its weak constituents followed by a revision an abandonment or an incorporation through an iteration of another theory or revolution. The thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Or in the words of Mikhail Bakhtin [I need to read up more people] the Magistral, Socratic and Menippean satires. This is also applied in the discourse of Historio-Socio-Psychological accounts as well.

So why is there discrimination against the Indigenous Malays who do not fit article 153 let alone the Bumiputera in the Constitution of Malaysia 1957 [that is still in force, as in the definition. There may be some iterations to the constitution that I have not highlighted. Nevertheless to some it may appear like a benign tumour the discrimination. Hence why it needs to be highlighted. What hurts one part hurts all parts.We are in 2021 as I am typing]. Notwithstanding that why is there discrimination against the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia.

Whilst the Bumiputera status is a benefit to[Malay] Malaysians in perhaps their self determination [but some of the Malay Aborigines don’t fit this definition] and in them becoming globalised citizens who can raise Malaysia to prosperity through neoliberalism, it can also create discord within the community of who actually gets to be smart.

Well law is essentially a human endeavour that once motioned organises the distribution of power. Of course within every society there is an other, or the ignored, and the egregores [collective unconscious] perhaps seeks an outlet and rages upon them unmercifully as if to draught upon the other’s dignity to feel dignified? Even prop up industrial complexes to feast on the misfortunes of others [looking at you world aid sorry because there is always a political deal in aid, another arsenal for the military in some island] in the name for profit. But as Audre Lorde says “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Hmmmm.

We will look into the constitution of Malaysia, that is still in force.

Article 160 and 153 is basically discrimination because it offers special privileges by an identity (in the context religion more so than race). The constitution has set that anyone who lives or is born in Malaysia or the Federation of Singapore before August 1957 [Merdeka day] can be considered Malay, given that they speak the language and are Muslim.

“Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and –

(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or

(b) is the issue of such a person;

Article 160 (2) of definitions in the constitution

To locate the context of the late 1950’s, Malaysia was emerging a decade after Japanese occupation. P. Ramlee (a famous actor in Malaysia) Malaysia was having his beginnings in cinema ( 1955 is the year of his first film ). And there was a general patriarchal society in Malaya, where some women who donned the headscarf showed a bit of hair and women’s dressing tended to be more liberal and similar to the west, than in the current 21st century.

It isn’t the affiliation with religion or the religion that is the cause, but religion is used as a ploy for power, in the taking the land and self determination of the indigenous. And following a neoliberal stance, the currency of the Malaysian in our current era may be stronger than what it was 15 years ago where it was five times less than the value of one pound or Australian dollar. But to buy a book can cost a 100 malaysian ringgit where ringgit is three times less than Australian dollar. Even baby formula can cost 80 ringgit. And that is symptomatic of an economy that can’t give those struggling the basic necessities of life [debatable because they do have lower priced stores for Malaysians citizens only, lower priced stores which are set up to combat the influx of Singaporeans who go into Malaysia to get cheaper products]. Despite having more resources and land than Singapore. Malaysia sells its land to be corporatised by companies overseas and their wealth is slightly devalued because of that lack of self determination. That economic strife also encourages some Malaysian students to seek asylum or refuge when overseas because of the poverty that one may encounter perhaps when living in Malaysia.

The very fact that Bumiputera means native and the title is being used for people not of actual Malaysian origin but those who linguistically, culturally and creed affiliated associated with the title, excludes the natives who do not share the homogenous attributes. There is more than one language than basic Malay in Malaysia. And there are many different faiths that the natives have.

SOURCES:

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/malaya-peoples-constitution-70-years

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