Cops watching group challenging citizenship for non-Malays

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar says police personnel are not allowed to conduct checks on illegal immigrants without clearance from their district police chief. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — A new Malay Muslim coalition calling itself Bertindak is under police scrutiny after challenging the citizenship of 1.75 million non-Malays granted between 1957 and 1970.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters today that no complaint had been made to date against the group.

“We are monitoring it, and if it gets into an issue, then we will get to it,” he said.

Last month, Bertindak — short for Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam — said that it would challenge the citizenship of 1.75 million Malaysians, granted between 1957 and 1970, in response to uproar over the permanent residency of controversial Indian Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, the secretariat head for Bertindak, claimed a review of the citizenship between those three years was needed as the award did not follow Schedule 1 of the Federal Constitution, which stipulates that a person must take an oath of loyalty to qualify.

Bertindak, comprising 22 Malay non-governmental organisations, said it was opposing “rude and dominant” groups who have questioned the tenets of Islam and the rights of Muslims, and warned there may be a recurrence of the May 13, 1969 race riots.

It claimed that Malay-Muslim sensitivities were hurt by groups that questioned the residency of Dr Zakir as well as the move to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) which purportedly disregards the interest of Muslim converts.

Other issues which Bertindak views as inflammatory are the protest against the proposed amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, questioning the content of Islamic sermons and attempts to make the Rukun Negara the preamble to the Federal Constitution.