Kota Kinabalu - Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Haji Mohd Ali Rustam said a person who is a Muslim, converses in Malay and follows the Malay traditions is considered a Malay.
"It is easy to become a Malay, " he told a Press conference after Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman opened the Dunia Muslim Dunia Islam (DMDI) seminar, here, Saturday.
Elaborating on why Musa had said that more than 50 per cent of the State`s nearly three million population are Malays, Mohd Ali, who is also DMDI president, said:
"Even if that person is Chinese or Indian or KadazanÉif they are Muslim or have converted, converse in Malay and follow the Malay tradition, then they are Malays."
"The Kadazans if they are a Muslim, we considered them as Malays, and if they have not embraced Islam, they are Bumiputeras. It is easy to become a Malay."
Present were Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Sabah State Secretary Datuk KY Mustafa.
Also present were Indonesian Governor of Riau Province Rusli Zainal, Governor of Riau Archipelago Province Ismeth Abdullah, Governor of Bangka Belitung Province Syamsudin B and Malacca State Secretary Datuk Wira Ismail Salleh.
On the role and functions of the DMDI, Mohd Ali said firstly they focused on strengthening the existing ties and the familial spirit among the Malays or Muslims throughout the world.
"Secondly we are concentrating on education, which is mainly focusing on increasing the human capital among the Malays, as well as on culture that is to bring to life the Malay cultural heritages like songs, dances, costume and so on," he said.
Citing an example, he said they assisted in re-introducing and teaching Malay language among the Malay communities in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Africa as well as in Australia.
"We have sent a language teacher to teach Malay language at a university in South Africa. We have 300 students including the university lecturers presently learning Malay language there," he said.
They have various other programmes including organising, among others, religious, youth, women, community and tourism-related activities for the Malay community.
DMDI was formed as the result from the first DMDI Convention resolution in 2000.
Since then, DMDI has embarked into a series of meetings and seminars as well as development projects in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, Philippines as well as the provinces in Indonesia like Acheh, Northern Sumatra, Southern Sumatra, West Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Riau and Bangka Belitung.
They have also been involved in providing aid to victims of tsunami. More than 400 people comprising Federal and State government officials as well as from the private corporate and government-linked companies (GLCs), community leaders, corporate leaders and representatives from the Islamic Malay countries.
Source: www.dailyexpress.com (11 Juni 2007)