After introducing a race-based election reserving the coming Presidential Election for only the Malays, the Singapore government now contradicts itself saying that the non-Malays can also contest so long as one “belong to the Malay community”. Former PAP MP Yatiman Yusof, a member of the government committee overseeing the racial qualification of presidential candidates said:
“The sub-committee will make its evaluation based on Article 19B of Singapore’s Constitution. The provision states that a “person belonging to the Malay community” means any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community.”
Another former PAP MP, Othman Haron Eusofe, said:
“Even though the person may not be 100 per cent Malay but practises its culture, mixes with members of the community and so on, should the person be considered a Malay? Or you want to say, no, and then divide the community further?”
The two PAP cronies also said that the government defines “Malay” differently from Malaysia:
“The definition of a Malay in the Singapore Constitution is different from Article 160 of Malaysia’s Constitution which stipulates that a person has to satisfy two sets of requirements in order to be recognised as a Malay: He or she has to profess the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, and conforms to Malay custom. The person also has to be born in the Malaysian Federation or in Singapore before Merdeka Day – which fell on August 31, 1957 – or has links to the Federation or Singapore.”
Former PAP MP Othman added that “Malay” is “inclusive” and hence non-Malays can also identify themselves as Malays:
“The definition of a Malay in Singapore’s Constitution is “inclusive in nature”. The evaluation of whether a presidential candidate is recognised as a member of a particular race is identical to the assessment for minority candidates under the Group Representation Constituency system in the General Elections (GEs). The issue of “Malayness” has not cropped up during past GEs. I supposed that it’s more pronounced now because some in the community might feel that if the highest office of the land should be occupied by a Malay, the person should be 100-per-cent Malay.”
The ruling party dictatorship created the first racist Presidential Election, and also the most elitist one – requiring one to be CEO of a holdings with at least S$500 million in assets or holding a government position – where less than 0.001% of the population could qualify.
PAP MP Halimah Yacob was singled out as the PAP’s first choice but she is a half-blood Malay-Indian. Another candidate is Indian Muslim Farid Khan Khaim Khan whose identity card wrote “Pakistani”.
Right-wing academic from Singapore Management University Eugene Tan support the government saying that “it is imperative that we do not get too hung up over the race of a presidential hopeful.” Another right-wing academic from ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, Dr Mustafa Izzuddin, fudged the issue saying Malays are “Nusantara”:
“The kinship ties between the various communities in different countries, particularly in the Southeast Asian region known as the Nusantara, is what defines Malay as a collective ethnic group.”
Earlier this year, corrupted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong re-wrote the country’s Constitution to ban non-government-endorsed candidates from contesting.