Malaysian PM tries to end race debate | Asia Pacific

Malaysian PM tries to end race debate

Malaysian PM tries to end race debate

Updated 6 January 2012, 9:40 AEDT

The Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, has tried to end a debate over the rights of majority Malays, saying there will be racial conflict if it continues.

There are two things at stake. A 50 year old constitutional agreement, which gave Malays benefits to allow minority Chinese and Indian communities to get citizenship. And there's the affirmative action, New Economic Policy, which was introduced 40 years ago to narrow the wealth gap between ethnic Malays, who were mainly rural and poor, and the Chinese, who were thought to dominate the business sector. Prime minister Najib Razak says it would be 'dangerous' to question the social contracts now. But he may also be trying to win back the vital support of the ethnic Malays who have recently moved away from his ruling United Malays National Organisation and towards the Islamic party, PAS.

Presenter: Zulfikar Abbany

Speaker: Dr Chandra Muzaffar, chairman, One Malaysia Foundation, and professor of global studies, University of Science Malaysia, Penang

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