Sunday, February 19, 2012

"SOCIAL CONTRACT" and "MALAY DOMINANCE" - in the Context of the Malayan Peoples' Struggle for Independence

in the Context of the Malayan Peoples' Struggle for Independence 

By Kua Kia Soong

[Editor’s Note] We append below the full text of the "Introduction" in Dr Kua Kia Soong’s latest book “Patriots & Pretenders – The Malayan Peoples’ Independence Struggle”. The heading is added by the editor.

In the book, Kua has dealt with the origins and development of “social contract” and “Malay dominance” (Ketuanan Melayu). He has expressed his clear-cut stand  and incisive views  on these matters.

The “Introduction” may serve to better the understanding of the struggle of the present-day vulnerable groups in our country. (in particular, the recent demand put forward by HINDRAF to repeal Article 153 of the Federal Constitution ).

Friends of SUARAM (FOS) Working Committee Johor, in its recent monthly meeting, has decided to initiate the launching of the Chinese rendition of Kua’s book. We shall also hold a forum on “Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and equality of all ethnic communities” in one to two months' time.

We hope that favourable conditions can be created for the book launch and the forum.

Appendix 1 (Article 153 of the Federal Constitution) is also annexed.

"The Social Contract is nothing more or less than a vast conspiracy of human beings to lie to and humbug themselves and one another for the general good. Lies are the mortar that binds the savage individual man into the social masonry."
- H.G. Wells

More than fifty years after Independence, Malaysians are still frequently reminded by UMNO leaders of the so-called “Social Contract” that was supposed to have been agreed upon by “the three races” whenever the non-bumiputeras demand civil liberties and the end to racial discrimination. This book attempts to put the historical facts in perspective so that the new generation understands the class forces that were arraigned during the anti-colonial struggle; knows who the real anti-colonial fighters were and the nature of the Merdeka Agreement that was in keeping with British colonial strategy.

The publication of this book coincides with the recent announcement by the Education Ministry that history is to be a compulsory subject in the SPM. It led to vocal protest from several sectors who find the “official” history in Malaysia rather suspect. Ever since the ‘May 13 Incident’ and the promulgation of the National Cultural Policy, Malaysian history has been written from the point of view of the ruling party UMNO in line with its Malay-centric populist ideology. It is an official history that is used to bolster one ethnic group at the expence of the other communities in an attempt to divide-and-rule. Consequently, whole categories of people have been denied their rightful place in Malaysian history. The most recent controversy over making the novel ‘Interlok’ the textbook for SPM Bahasa Malaysia is but the latest example of this UMNO agenda.

This book tries to set the record straight by providing a class analysis of the anti-colonial struggle and acknowledging the contributions of the patriotic class forces in all the ethnic communities to Independence and nation building. It will be clear from these documents of the British Public Records Office that this divide-and-rule strategy was the brain child of the British colonial power. The “Alliance Formula” was rife with contradictions from the start and we are still trying to pick up the pieces today. This “Peoples’ History” which is based on academic research by respected scholars, has been hidden from official Malaysian history and by studying it we can uncover the roots of racial polarization in Malaysia and lay the basis for a non-racial solution to our nation’s challenges.

Western imperialism and the neo-colonial solution

From the Colonial Office and Foreign Office documents of the period uncovered from the Public Records Office in London, (1) it has been possible to provide evidence of the thinking and calculation of Western imperialism with regard to South-East Asia, but especially the importance laid on securing Malaya for economic, political and military-strategic interests. They show the priority accorded to defeating the anti-colonial forces spearheaded by the workers. The post-war period was also one of re-dividing the world by Western imperialism, which under the hegemony of the US, began to move toward an integration rather than division of interests. These records reveal the articulation of the whole Western, rather than solely British, interest in Malaya.

The atmosphere of repression during the 'Emergency' provided the British colonial power with an opportunity to deflect the forces of revolt and effect the neo-colonial accommodation. The entire colonial strategy - especially the aftermath of the Malayan Union crisis - had convinced the British that the custodians of an Independent Malaya would be the traditional Malay rulers. This was in keeping with the communalist strategy of British rule throughout their colonization of Malaya. At the same time, the neo-colonial arrangement had to accommodate the upper strata of the non-Malay capitalist class who were a necessary link in the imperialist domination of the Malayan economy. The vacillating politics of this class, reflecting its narrow and limited material interests, was harnessed by the colonial state. The repression during the 'Emergency' enabled the colonial power to exploit sectional interests and thereby isolate the working class and the peasantry.

Thus, the 'Alliance Formula' with all its contradictions was devised in Independent Malaya. The reform measures conceded by the colonial power and grudgingly agreed to by the Malay rulers were in many ways necessitated by the ferocity of the revolt. It alerted them to the dangers of pursuing too overt a policy of discrimination against the non-Malay masses.

Another myth that is purveyed during ‘Merdeka Day’ every year is that it was UMNO who won Independence for the country. The evidence presented in this book will show who the main opponents of the British colonial power were and who put up a protracted struggle to end the exploitation of the country’s natural and human resources while forging a truly multi-ethnic peoples’ united front. This book attempts to give you the real story of the Malayan independence struggle.

The so-called ‘Social Contract’

‘Social Contract’ (2) and ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ are terms introduced by communalist politicians in recent years and it is worth taking note of the origin and the illegitimacy of their coinage. ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ or Malay Dominance can be traced to the infamous speech by Abdullah Ahmad, then UMNO Member of Parliament in Singapore in 1986. (3) The emergence of this concept of a ‘Social Contract’ in recent years presumes that there was a trade-off between granting citizenship for the Non-Malays and “special privileges” for the Malays by the representatives of the different communities at Independence. Its routinised usage today, however, does not mean that its legitimacy should not be challenged.

Certainly, the Independence struggle and the Merdeka Agreement have to be understood in class terms – the ruling class in the making represented by UMNO, MCA and MIC on the one side, and the truly anti-colonial forces in the PMCJA-PUTERA coalition representing the workers, peasantry and disenchanted middle class on the other. Thus the so-called “Social Contract” would have looked very different if the “Peoples’ Constitution” of the AMCJA-PUTERA coalition had won the day. (4)

This book emphasizes the fact that this so-called “social contract” was the product of colonial manipulation of the constitutional proposals, from the Malayan Union to the final Merdeka Agreement. Furthermore, it has in fact undergone three transformations since Independence, viz.:

(i) the post-Independence situation before May 13, 1969;
(ii) post-1969 Malaysian society, and
(iii) the attempt to rationalize “Malay dominance” since the Eighties.

The Class Forces at Independence

The UMNO leadership after the Second World War represented the interests of the Malay aristocracy. They were by no means anti-colonial and did not challenge British interests. Malaya was still very much dependent on export commodities, largely rubber and tin. The industrial base was narrow and based on these two commodities while the problem of the peasantry since colonial times was still unresolved.

The mass-based anti-colonial movement, on the other hand, had very clear policies based on self-determination, civil liberties and equality. The workers’ movement (5) was the main threat to colonial interests and the Federation of Malaya proposals culminating in the Merdeka Agreement were intended to deflect the working class revolt by introducing communalism in the Independence package.

The Emergency (1948-60) was as much a crackdown on the workers’ movement as it was a war against the anti-colonial insurrection. The subsequent “Alliance Formula” comprising the Malay aristocratic class and non-Malay capitalist class was designed to deal with the workers’ revolt and put in place a neo-colonial solution. (6)

The colonial Malayan economy saw a neglected peasantry while the crucial questions of exploitation by Metropolitan capital, land ownership and size of landholdings of the Malay peasantry (for which the Malay aristocracy was responsible) were deflected into grievances against the Non-Malay middlemen.

The Malayan Union (MU) proposal by the British in 1946 was opposed by the political left and right in Malaya for different reasons. Basically, the post-war Labour Government in Britain had to grant civil rights including citizenship for the non-Malays as in elsewhere in the post-war world, but the Malay elite were opposed to this. The Malay aristocracy also opposed the MU because it proposed to transfer the sultans’ jurisdiction to the British and abolish the need for royal assent to legislation. On the other hand, the peoples’ anti-colonial forces opposed it because it did not propose self-rule and no elections were contemplated. They were also against the exclusion of Singapore from the federation.

In their demonstrations against the Malayan Union, UMNO carried banners calling for, among other things, denial of citizenship rights for the Non-Malays but they did not oppose British colonial rule per se. (7) UMNO’s opposition to the Union had been mainly provoked by the brusque manner in which the British had forced the sultans to sign the treaties.

By contrast, the Malay Nationalist Party (MNP) called for, among other things: (8)

- the right to self-determination of the Malayan people;
- equal rights for all races;
- freedom of speech, press, meeting, religion;
- improving standard of living of all the people;
- improving farming conditions and abolishing land tax;
- improving labour conditions;
- education reform on democratic lines;
- fostering friendly inter-racial relations.

On 20 October 1947, the AMCJA-PUTERA coalition launched a general strike and economic boycott or hartal to protest against the constitutional proposals. It brought the country to a complete standstill. It also called on all parties to boycott the Federal Legislative and State Councils.

Realizing the different class forces opposing the Malayan Union, the British did a volte face and began to consult only with the Malay elite to the exclusion of all the other interest groups. The colonial power again used its divide and rule strategy to put the anti-colonial forces on the defensive by tightening up citizenship rules from five to fifteen years’ residence under the Federation of Malaya proposals of 1948; Singapore was to be excluded from the federation and no representative democracy was considered.

The constitutional crisis and labour unrest led to the Emergency being declared on 17 June 1948. During the period from 1948 to 1960, thousands were deported to China while some 500,000 were displaced into “New Villages”. (9)

In looking at the citizenship issue, it is worth noting that by 1947, three-fifths of Chinese and one-half of Indians in Malaya were local born but in 1950, only 500,000 Chinese (one-fifth of the total) and 230,000 Indians had Malayan citizenship. (10)

The 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council elections, which saw the successful application of the Alliance formula, gave the British colonial power an indication of the political forces to back for the neo-colonial solution. The 1955 federal legislative council elections confirmed their choice of the Alliance and when the Alliance reneged on its amnesty proposals for the guerrillas at the Baling talks in 1955, the British were assured of the Alliance’ reliability as the custodians of British interests.

When the Constitutional (Reid) Commission was considering the provision for Malay special position, it made the following comments:

“Our recommendations are made on the footing that the Malays should be assured that the present position will continue for a substantial period, but that in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should ultimately cease so that there should be no discrimination between races or communities.” (11)

The proposal to review Malay special position after fifteen years by the legislature was opposed by UMNO and they got their way:

- The jus soli principle was applied for all born after 1957;
- Citizenship was granted to all over 18 years of age, who were born in the country and had lived five out of seven years in the country and knew elementary Malay;
- For those born outside the country, there was a condition of eight out of twelve years’ residence in the country. (12)

The Alliance formula of three racially-based parties made up of the Malay ruling class and the Non-Malay capitalist class was plainly the neo-colonialist alternative to the truly Malayan nationalist movement grounded in the workers’ movement. The Alliance won the upper hand mainly through the help of British colonial repression of the mass-based nationalist movement and the failure of the latter to mobilize the Malay peasantry.

Three Transformations of the so-called “Social Contract”

UMNO politicians like to fling this so-called “social contract” around whenever they are challenged on civil rights for the non-bumiputeras. In fact, this so-called “social contract” has undergone three fundamental transformations since Independence:

(i) After Independence in 1957, the affirmative action policy was sparingly used according to Article 153;
(ii) After May 13 in 1971, while the country was still under Emergency decree, Article 153 was amended to introduce the so-called “quota system” allowing wider affirmative action policies but still within stipulated conditions (See Appendix I);
(iii) Then in 1986, Abdullah Ahmad’s infamous “Ketuanan Melayu” speech was actually a declaration of the new status quo, routinizing racial discrimination through the abuse of Article 153 since 1971.

In the 1957 Constitution, Article 153 was framed simply as follows:

“It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article…and to ensure the reservation for Malays of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service…and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the Federal Government and, when any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law…Nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorize the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him…” (13)

Sheridan & Groves’ commentary on Article 153 is as follows:

“This article had its inspiration in the protective discrimination provisions of the Indian constitution; but it is fundamentally different from those provisions because the largest class in whose favour the discrimination operates in Malaysia is the class which possesses political control, the Malays…” (14)

After Independence in 1957, the Malayan economy was largely unchanged from its colonial pattern showing a great regional disparity – an urbanized largely non-Malay west coast and a neglected Malay peasant economy along the east coast. Agriculture took up almost 50 per cent of the GDP, and 60 per cent of the labour force, predominantly Malay, were concentrated in the agricultural sector. Their poverty was blamed on the Chinese middlemen rather than the structure of neo-colonial exploitation and their exploitation by large landowners and the feudal aristocracy. (15)

The Tunku’s government did implement import-substitution industries which included production of food, beverages, tobacco, rubber and chemical products, cosmetics, toiletries and paints to cater for the growing middle-class home market. Most of these industries were foreign owned which came to take advantage of the comparatively lower local wages. Thus, post-colonial developments were leading to discontent among not only farmers but also workers and the middle class.

In the sixties, the increasing public development spending began to whet the appetite of the emergent Malay state capitalist class: The First Five-Year Plan (1956-60) spending of RM 1 billion rose to RM 2.6 billion under the Second Five-Year Plan (1961-65) and to RM 3.6 billion under the First Malaysia Plan (1966-70). There were two Malay economic congresses in 1965 and 1968 which called for greater state intervention to assist the development of Malay capital. RIDA, MARA and Bank Bumiputra all grew during the sixties. (16)

My 2007 publication on the May 13 riots of 1969 (17) maintains that the race riots of May 13, 1969 actually camouflaged a coup detat by the then emergent Malay state capitalist class against the traditional Malay aristocratic class headed by the Tunku and that the riots were orchestrated by elements within UMNO. The police and the army were not impartial – Razak met with the Chiefs of the Army and Police soon after the riots broke out. Tunku has been quoted as saying:

“You know Harun was one of those – Harun, Mahathir, Ghazali Shafie – who were all working with Razak to oust me…” (18)

The ideology of the new Malay ruling class after 1969 has been based on the overtly populist “bumiputraism” to win the support of the Malays and this has been imprinted into the New Economic Policy (NEP), the Education Policy and the National Cultural Policy which were raised barely a week after May 13, 1969. Through the NEP, the interests of the Malay state capitalist class have expanded immensely. From 1971 to 2000, public development spending has exceeded RM 300 billion. The NEP has largely been funded by the discovery and exploitation of offshore oil, which in 1985 contributed 26 per cent to all government revenue. (19)

The Dubious Status of the “Quota System”

After the pogrom of May 13, 1969, Article 153 was amended in 1971 (while the country was still under Emergency decree) to introduce the so-called “quota system” which has become a carte blanche for gross racial discrimination in economic and education policy. The implementation of the quota system as it is framed in Clause 8A of Article 153 has evoked this comment from Visu Sinnadurai, Professor of Comparative Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya in the Eighties:

“Clause (8A) makes it clear that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can only order a reservation of a proportion of such places for the Malays. It would  therefore mean that the quota system is applicable only on a faculty basis and more importantly every faculty or institution should reserve places for students of every race. No faculty or institution under this provision could cater for the Malays alone to the exclusion of the other races… "

“It should be pointed out that though these changes were made purportedly under the direction of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the writer is unable to trace any such Order being made by His Majesty nor does there seem to be evidence of any such order being gazetted. It appears that such a directive has been made by the officials of the Ministry of Education. This lack of notification has caused some uncertainty especially in the validity of the implementation of some of the policies. It is not clear whether the quota system is made applicable on an institutional basis or on the basis of the total number of places available in a particular course of study of all the universities in the country…To apply the quota system on the total number of places available in any particular university will again be a wrong interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution. (20)

Sinnadurai adds:

“Article 153 (8A) does not authorise the administrators of any university to refuse admission to any student of a particular race. It only allows a proportion of the places to be reserved for Malay students. On such a reasoning, the constitutionality of institutions like the Asasi Sains in the University of Malaya or Kursus Sains matriculasi Sidang Akademik of the Universiti Sains Malaysia which cater only for Bumiputra students is doubtful...Furthermore, the Constitution of the University of Malaya expressly prohibits discrimination on grounds of race for the admission of any student to any faculty or institution of the university. In this context too, the constitutionality of other institutions which admit students of a particular race only to the exclusion of other races is also doubtful as it may violate the equality provision of Article 8.”(21)

From the above, it is clear that the question of the constitutionality of the quota system as it has been practised since 1971 especially in totally Bumiputera institutions has never been tested in the courts. We know what the original intentions of the “Malay Special Position” provision in the Merdeka Constitution were, but to maintain that it is a carte blanche for all manner of discrimination based on the Bumiputra/ Non-Bumiputra divide is certainly straining credibility:

“By 1990, the realities of the racially discriminatory quota system in education were as follows: An average of 90 per cent of loans for polytechnic certificate courses, 90 per cent of scholarships for Diploma of Education courses, 90 per cent of scholarships/loans for degree courses taken in the country, almost all scholarships/loans for degree courses taken overseas were given to Bumiputeras. Regarding the enrolment of students in residential schools throughout the Eighties, 95 per cent of these were Bumiputera. The enrolment in MARA’s Lower Science College, Maktab Sains MARA was almost 100 per cent Bumiputera throughout the Eighties.” (22)

This racial discrimination is applied regardless of class or need. Thus a bumiputera who can afford to buy a RM2.5 million house still enjoys a discriminatory discount rate when buying the house as well as “special privileges” in share allocations and other handouts!

Dominance of the Umnoputras

Under Mahathir, we have seen the transfer from State to private Malay capital under his privatization programme and the proletarianisation of the Malay peasantry. Corporate wealth has spread among Malays through release of shares from profitable state enterprises into unit trusts for bumiputras. The ‘Umnoputras’ have been the best placed to take advantage of these opportunities. In 1986, for example, 4 per cent of ASN holders owned more than 70 per cent of the ASN, while 80 per cent owned less than 500 shares each. (23) Cronies were chosen to head UMNO-linked corporations and to benefit from controversial privatization projects.

In recent years and especially since Abdullah Ahmad’s infamous speech in 1986, there have been vain attempts by the ruling party to rationalise this racist notion of “Malay dominance” (Ketuanan Melayu) with the so-called “social contract” at Independence.

Since the racial violence of 1969, there has been a trend toward fascist methods to intimidate any challenge to this status quo. We saw this in 1987 during the build-up to Operation Lalang when the rally organized by UMNO displayed racist and blatantly seditious banners (24); in 1996 when a mob from the ruling party violently disrupted the Second Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor (25); in 1999, they threatened staff of the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and threatened to burn the building down over the ‘Suqiu’ affair (26); in 2001, when six people were killed and over a hundred mainly ethnic Indians were injured in Kampong Medan (27); in 2004, 2005 and 2006, when the UMNO Youth Chief flagrantly waved the keris (Malay dagger) at the UMNO general assembly to flaunt “Malay dominance”. (28) More recently, a far-right Malay-supremacy group, ‘Perkasa’ has emerged to “fight and defend the rights of the Malays which they feel are being challenged by non-Malays in Malaysia.” (29)


This people’s history sets out to uncover the real story of the independence struggle; the class forces and the real anti-colonial fighters at the time. It provides a class analysis of the anti-colonial struggle which was spearheaded by the workers’ movement. Our constitution would have looked very different if the truly anti-colonial forces’ “Peoples’ Constitution” of the AMCJA-PUTERA coalition representing the workers, peasantry and the disenchanted middle class had won the day.

The post-war period was one of re-division of the world by Western imperialism under the hegemony of the US. The records unravelled from the British archives reveal the integration of these Western imperialist interests. From the documents, we also see that the Merdeka Agreement was the product of British colonial machination.

The repression during the Emergency provided the British colonial power not only with the opportunity to isolate the insurgents but also to effect the neo-colonial accommodation. Their strategy was to nurture the “Alliance Formula” and to leave their interests in the hands of the Malay aristocratic class and their Non-Malay capitalist allies. So much so that the Tunku and the other Alliance representatives were surprised when they went to London just before independence that their proposals were accepted without any fuss from the British government.

The so-called ‘Social Contract’ that has been bandied about by UMNO politicians in recent years claims that there was a “trade-off” at Independence between granting citizenship to the Non-Malays while giving special privileges to the Malays. It has been shown above that in fact this so-called ‘Social Contract’ has undergone three transformations, so much so that “Malay special privileges” in Malaysia today are a far cry from the status quo ante from 1957 to 1971. The Constitution was amended in 1971 after the 1969 May 13 pogrom while the country was still in a state of emergency and the ascendant Malay ruling class was in total control of the Malaysian state.


(1) These documents were used in my PhD thesis submitted to Manchester University in 1980. It was published under Hua Wu Yin: Class & Communalism in Malaysia, Zed Press, London 1983.

(2) The main body of this Introduction was originally a paper presented by the author at a Bar Council forum on 28 June 2008 entitled: “A Class Perspective on the Social Contract”.

(3) See K.Das: Malay Dominance? The Abdullah Rubric, K.Das Ink, 1987).

(4) The pertinence of class analysis is often a bone of contention in academic circles but most people would have no problem in seeing the recent cunning Lingam act as class collaboration in flagrante delicto! On 19 September 2007, the issue of judicial independence was raised when a controversial video clip surfaced, showing senior lawyer V.K.Lingam speaking over the telephone with then-Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim regarding the appointment and promotion of judges. See SUARAM, ‘Malaysia: Human Rights Report 2007’, 2008: 133.

(5)See Stenson, MR, Industrial Conflict in Malaya, London 1970.

(6) Hua Wu Yin, 1983: 94-98.

(7) See Chapter 2

(8) Ibid, pp 87-88

(9) Anthony Short, “The Communist Insurrection in Malaya”, 1975 London.

(10) M.V. de Tufo, “A Report of the 1947 Census of Population” quoted in Hua Wu Yin 1983:101.

(11) Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957, Government Press, para 165, p.72.

(12) Khong Kim Hoong, 1984:200

(13) Sheridan, L.A. & Groves, H.E. “The Constitution of Malaysia”, Malayan Law Journal, Singapore 1979: 382.

(14) ibid, p.385.

(15) Mahathir’s book, ‘The Malay Dilemma’ suffers from the same racist paradigm that obscures the structural causes of poverty.

(16)Hua Wu Yin 1983: 144-47.

(17) Kua Kia Soong, “May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969”, Suaram 2007).

(18) Kua Kia Soong ed: K.Das & The Tunku Tapes, SIRD 2002: 112.

(19) Hua Wu Yin 1983:183.

(20) “Rights in Respect of Education under the Malaysian Constitution” in F.A. Trindade & H.P. Lee, ‘The Constitution of Malaysia, Further Perspectives and Developments’, Fajar Bakti, Petaling Jaya 1986: 49).

(21) ibid, p.50.

(22) Reply to parliamentary questions in Kua Kia Soong, “Reforming Malaysia”, 1993 Oriengroup, Tables 1-9.

(23) Kua Kia Soong, “Polarisation in Malaysia: The Root Causes”, K.Das Ink 1987:61.

(24) Malaysian Government White Paper on Operation Lalang, ‘Towards Preserving National Unity’, 1988

(25) See Kua Kia Soong (edited): ‘Mob Rule: The East Timor Conference in Malaysia 1996’, SUARAM PJ 1998.

(26) See Kua Kia Soong, ‘The Malaysian Civil Rights Movement’, SIRD PJ 2005: 108.

(27) See Arumugam, K: ‘March 8’, Petaling Jaya 2007.

(28) The UMNO general assembly is generally aired live over the public television channels.

(29) Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia or Perkasa is a non-governmental Malay-supremacy organization that was formed after the political tsunami of 2008 which saw major gains by the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat. The major objectives for establishing Perkasa, according to its leader, Ibrahim Ali, are “to protect Article 153 and to defend the rights of the Bumiputera from being eroded by certain quarters.” (The Nutgraph, 16.3.2010)


(Below is Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which can be found in Appendix 1 in Kua Kia Soong's new book titled " PATRIOTS & PRETENDERS --The Malayan Peoples' Independence Struggle " .  We include it as the Appendix of the above post so that readers can easily understand the contents of Article 153.)


153.Reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc., for Malays (1) and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak (2)

1. It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

2. Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, but subject to the provisions of Article 40 and of this Article, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall exercise his functions under this Constitution and federal law in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special provision of the Malays and natives of any of the States of
Sabah and Sarawak and to ensure the reservation for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service (other than the public service of a State) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or
special facilities given or accorded by the Federal Government and, when any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law, then, subject to the provisions of that law and this Article, of such permits and licences.

3. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, in order to ensure in accordance with Clause (2) the reservation to Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of positions in the public service and of scholarships, exhibitions and other educational or training privileges or special facilities, give such general directions as may be required for that purpose to any Commission to which Part X applies or to any authority charged with responsibility for the grant of such scholarships, exhibitions or other educational or training privileges or special facilities; and the Commission or authority shall duly comply with the directions.

4. In exercising his functions under this Constitution and federal law in accordance with Clauses (1) to (3) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall not deprive any person of any public office held by him or of the continuance of any scholarship, exhibition or other educational or training privileges or special facilities enjoyed by him.

5. This Article does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136.

6. Where by existing federal law a permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may exercise his functions under thatlaw in such manner, or give such general directions to any authority charged under that law with the grant of such permits or licences, as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives
of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable, and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.

7. Nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him or to authorised a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of a person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.

8. Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where by any federal law any permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business, that law may provide for the reservation of a proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak; but no such law shall for the purpose of ensuring such a reservation-

(a) deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him; or

(b) authorise a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with he other provisions of the law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events, or prevent any person from transferring together with his business any transferable licence to operate that business; or

(c) where no permit or licence was previously required for the operation of the trade or business, authorise a refusal to grant a permit or licence to any person for the operation of any trade or business which immediately before the coming into force of the law he had been bona fide carrying on, or authorise a refusal subsequently to renew to any such person any permit or licence, or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any such person any such permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with the other provisions of that law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.

(8A) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where in any University, College and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the University, College or such educational institution to candidates for any course of study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yank di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable, and the authority shall duly comply with the directions. (3)

9. Nothing in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

(9A) In this Article the expression "natives" in relation to the State of Sabah or Sarawak shall have the meaning assigned to it in Article 161A. (4)

10. The Constitution of the State of any Ruler may make provision corresponding (with the necessary modifications) to the provisions of this Article.


*The clauses in bold were not in the original 1957 Constitution.

(1) Under Article 160 (2): “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;…

(2) “and natives of any of the Borneo states” were added with effect from 10 March 1971 by the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1971 (No.A30), section 6 (a), and the words “states of Sabah and Sarawak” were substituted for the words “Borneo states” with effect from 27 August 1976 by the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1976 (No. A354), section 43.

(3) Clause (8A) was added with effect from 10 March 1971 by the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1971 (No.A30), section 6(b).

(4) Clause (9A) was added with effect from 10 March 1971 by the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1971 (No. A30), section 6(c).


Pengumuman / 启事 / Notification

Pertukaran alamat blog dan e-mel

Selamat sejahtera, Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee akan menggunakan alamat e-mail dan alamat laman web (Blog) yang baru seperti berikut bermula 1 Januari 2014:


Sekian, terima kasih dan Selamat Tahun Baru!







Change of blog and email addresses

Please be informed that Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee will be using the new email and blog addresses below commencing 1 Jan 2014:


Wishing you a progressive new year!



作为活跃于柔佛州的为民主人权和民族尊严而奋斗的两个组织——柔佛州人民之友工委会与柔州兴权会(HINDRAF JOHORE)针对第13届大选,在去年底联合发表了一篇主题为“打破巫统霸权,建立民主联合阵线;团结全州人民,实现三大迫切诉求”的《告柔佛州人民书》;我们毫不犹疑,也毫不含糊主张“把国阵抛弃到历史的垃圾堆中去”。




Malaysia Time (GMT+8)