Permim seeks Bumiputra status for Indian Muslims
PETALING JAYA - Indian Muslims in the country want to be recognised as "bumiputra" and absorbed into the Malay community in line with Article 160 of the Federal Constitution.
The Article defines a Malay as one born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, customarily speaks the Malay language and practises Malay customs and is domiciled in the country.
Federation of Indian Muslim Asso-ciations (Permim) president Datuk Dr Syed Ebrahim Mohd Ismail said some 650,000 Indian Muslims are pushing to be accorded this status towards the integration of the country's Malay Muslim community.
"We sought bumiputra status from the Government on several previous occasions but there has been no word on our request.
"Permim will be forwarding a memorandum to the Prime Minister again," he said when met after the opening of the federation's 17th annual general meeting here yesterday.
He said the request, among others for the community, was submitted in 2009 when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was helming the Govern-ment, with two more memorandums forwarded to current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2011 and last year.
Dr Syed Ebrahim said Permim was also requesting for a senator from among Indian Muslim non-governmental organisations and university places for their children with eligible grades.
He said Permim would seek a meeting with Najib as soon as possible to hand over their requests.
Asked what the Government response had been to their earlier requests, Dr Syed Ebrahim said: "Permim was told to wait as the Cabinet needed time to consider."
On the same matter, Permim deputy president Jasha Khan Sultan said it was appropriate that the Indian Muslim community be recognised as Malays owing to their centuries-old heritage.
"We have not merely adopted the Malay language and customs but have been fully integrated into the local community.
"We should be considered Malays in line with the nation's move towards a single (Malay) society," he added, referring to a judgment by former Lord President Tun Mohamed Suffian Hashim that supported the definition of "Malay" under the Constitution.