KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 – Under fire for telling non-Malays not to question Malay special rights, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said today that he was justified in making the call, claiming that Malaysians were indeed belittling the rulers. He said that on Twitter, Malaysians were questioning the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s decision to change the names of several roads to that of the names of former and current rulers.
“I am very angry and disappointed. After my speech, I opened social media and it was dominated by people who hate Umno. They said no one was questioning Malay rights, that Umno was afraid of its own shadow,” said Khairy in his winding-up speech at the Umno Youth general assembly.
“But I want to ask, is it true no one is questioning Malay rights? On Twitter, people are asking, what are the contributions (of the rulers) to the extent that they should be given such an honour.” Khairy said Malaysians were even comparing the rulers’ contributions to that of the late DAP chairman Karpal Singh, who had a road named after him after he passed away.
“(They said) at least Karpal Singh had contributed to the nation,” said Khairy. He wanted to know why no one protested when the IJM Promenade was renamed Karpal Singh Drive, yet when “meaningless names” such as “Jalan Duta” and “Jalan Mahameru” were being replaced with the names of kings, people questioned the decision.
“(And yet) they say no one is questioning the Malays and the Malay rulers. It’s a good thing I opened Twitter just now,” said Khairy. He said that because of his speech this morning, urging Malaysians to stick to the social contract, he and the entire Umno Youth assembly had been labelled racist on social media.
“Some (on social media) responded by saying they do not agree with any contract. (They say) ‘I did not sign any social contract, I am not bound by any social contract’. “Some responded to my speech, asking why I needed to mention Malay special rights, that it is an old issue, that it is history.”
Khairy also claimed that his statements acknowledging vernacular schools and acceptance of other races as Malaysian citizens were not reported by the media, and this showed there was an agenda to paint Umno as racist. “This is proof that if we do not rise, if we do not defend our race, religion and country, we will be ridiculed,” he said, to roars of approval from the delegates.
On Monday, City Hall announced the changes to the names of eight roads: Jalan Duta, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Jalan Ipoh, Persiaran Duta, Jalan Khidmat Setia, Jalan Ibadah, Lebuhraya Mahameru, Persiaran Mahameru and Jalan Semarak (see graphic).
They are to be replaced with the names of the current and past Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, namely Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Persiaran Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar, Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar and Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra.
In his policy speech this morning, Khairy said non-Malays should never again dispute the special rights of the Malays and the position of the rulers. He said the Malays had never questioned vernacular schools and the citizenship of non-Malays, and that the Malays had made a huge sacrifice in allowing other races to be part of the country. He also asked why there were some among the non-Malays who refused to honour the social contract agreed upon during the formation of Malaysia.