'Race' column in Malaysia government forms to be phased out

'Race' column in Malaysia government forms to be phased out
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun.

PUTRAJAYA - The "race" column in official government forms should be dropped - but this cannot be done overnight.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun said that omitting the column would be carried out gradually.

"The column cannot be immediately and completely dropped because in some aspects, stating the race is needed, for instance when the Government conducts census or in land-related matters," he said here yesterday.

Although there has been no directive or circular issued on the matter, about 120 official government forms have omitted the column.

Among the forms were for the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) and the housing loan scheme forms for the low-income group.

Entulu said there were three categories of official forms which still retained the "race" column - with one of these related to Article 153 of the Federal Constitution to protect the position and rights of communities in the country.

In the second category, the racial identity is required to meet the legal requirements involving land, education, business and those areas gazetted under the Acts.

In the third category, the racial identity is needed for research and planning purposes such as in disease control, education enhancement, population demography, as well as facility and development planning.

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