Day 17

Posted On August 7, 2007

Filed under Prayer

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Before the embrace of Islam and Islamic laws, the Peninsular Malays lived for centuries under Hindu rajas. When the Melaka Sultanate adopted Islam, to be a Muslim is to “masuk Melayu”.
Despite the historical, social-cultural origin and ethnic heritage, Malays as a people group took on legal definition during British intervention.
The first formal colonial definition of ‘Malay’ was made in the 1913 Malay Reservation Acts, classifying a Malay as any person belonging to the Malayan race who habitually spoke Malay or any other Malayan language and who professed Islam.
Article 160 of the Federal Constitution defines Malay as “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.”
The term ‘Bumiputera’ (‘sons of the soil’) was used in the Constitution referring to Malays and other indigenous groups. Consistent with the constitution, the ‘Bumiputeras’ are guaranteed a special position, safeguarded by Yang diPertuan Agong, “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.”
Theoretically, a Malay who converted out of Islam would have to forfeit his constitutional privileges. It would also be legally possible for a non-Malay citizen to become a Malay if he or she were to fulfil the constitutional criteria.


1. Praise God for
a. His love and His divine purpose for the ethnic Malays.
b. Giving the ethnic Malays creativity and their artistic ability.
c. Raising capable national leaders among them.
2. The government to recognise the real problems faced by the Malays and to review policies in order to empower them towards self-reliance.
3. Good policies to be fairly and effectively implemented to benefit the true less privileged and not the small elite.
4. Rich and capable Malays be willing to help the less privileged by creating opportunities for jobs (especially in the rural areas), skill-training and self-reliance.
5. Minds and hearts be enlightened that
a. They will not be easily influenced by those who intentionally stir up racial/religious sentiments.
b. They will be able to discern and resist the ultra conservative views that may lead to extremism.
6. Salt & light:
a. Christian business community to demonstrate God’s goodness by providing measures to empower the Malays towards self-reliance.
b. Local churches (especially the Bahasa-speaking churches) to actively engage in community services in the rural areas with no strings attached.


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