From a historical standpoint, the term ‘Malay’ adopted in this book refers to Muslim persons who was domiciled in Malaya and/ Singapore from 1856 onward. The geopolitical time frames are: Pre-war British Malaya and Singpore (1856-1941), the Japanese Occupation of Malaya and Singapore (1941-1945), post-war British Malaya and Singapore (1945-30 August 1957), the Federation of Malaya (31 August 1957-16 September 1963), early Malaysia (Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore from 16 September 1963 to 9 August 1965) and present day Malaysia (Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak from 9 August 1965-present day). Singapore was separated from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. From a political standpoint, the term ‘Malay’ adopted in this book is in line with the definition of ‘Malay’ under the Reid Commission that was presented at the London Conference of September 1956 (Stockwell 1995:306-307,314-315) which became the Federal Constitution for the Federation of Malaya. Since many of the doctors continued to live in peninsular Malaya and became Malayans after 1957 and subsequently Malaysian citizens after 1963, the definition of ‘Malay’ is maintained and is in line with the most recent Malaysian Constitution of March 2010 as stated in Articles 14, 15, 16, 18 and 19. The person is ‘Malay’ under the Malaysian Constitution of March 2010 (Article 160).
The Federation of Malaya (1957-1963)
London Conference and Reid Commission, September 1956 - Articles 425 & 426: Definition of Malay
A person shall be deemed to be a Malay, if
1) He practises the religion of Islam;
2) He habitually practises Malay customs;
3) He habitually speaks the Malay language; and
4) He is a person, or the descendant of a person, who at the commencement of this Constitution
a) was domiciled in the Federation of Malaya, or
b) had been born in the territories comprised in the Federation of Malaya, or
c) had been born of parents one of whom had been born in the territories comprised in the Federation of Malaya.
The Malaysian Constitution (1957-present day)
Malaysian Constitution (2010) - Articles 14, 15, 16, 18, and 19: Acquisition of Citizenship. Article 160: Definition of Malay
The article defines a Malay person as a Malaysian citizen born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs, and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. As a result, Malay citizens who convert out of Islam are no longer considered Malay under the law. Hence, the Bumiputra privileges afforded to Malays under Article 153 of the Constitution, the New Economic Policy (NEP), etc. are forfeit for such converts.
Likewise, a non-Malay Malaysian who converts to Islam can lay claim to Bumiputra privileges, provided he meets the other conditions.
1. Federal Constitution (as at 1st March 2010), 2010. ISBN: 978-967-89-2023-0. Publisher: International Law Book Services. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Website: www.malaysialawbooks.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Perlembagaan Persekutuan (hingga 20hb Januari 2010), 2010. ISBN: 978-967-89-2018-6. Publisher: International Law Book Services. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Website: www.malaysialawbooks.com E-mail: email@example.com