Malaysia belongs to all races: Anwar Ibrahim

September 1st, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 1 (IANS) Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities in Malaysia must be assured of their citizenship and their standing in the country’s polity in line with constitutional guarantees, says opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. While protecting the rights of the majority Malays, the Chinese and Indians must also be given an assurance on their citizenship and position, Ibrahim, who is back in parliament after a decade following last week’s by-election, told his constituents in Permatang Pauh, Penang.

“The country belongs to all races and not to just one community. With such an assurance, it does not mean that you will be sacrificing the rights of another community,” he was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Monday.

“Now, when you say you disagree (with your political leader), you get threatened. The true spirit of Merdeka (freedom) is no longer present.

“What is the meaning of Merdeka when we are still ruled by our own community?” he asked.

When independence was declared on Aug 31, 1957, the Malays, Chinese and Indians were assured freedom of speech and freedom to form associations, Ibrahim recalled.

Malays are estimated at around 60 percent in Malaysia, which has about 33 percent ethnic Chinese and eight percent Indians in a population of 28 million.

According to Ibrahim, political leaders should refrain from racist remarks that would make others feel threatened.

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