KUALA LUMPUR: It is important for the government to tread carefully on Malay issues, because a potential coup d’etat could take place, given that the Malays are the majority in the country, says Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad.
“Nothing is impossible. Especially since 70% of the population are Malays and they are sufficiently influenced to believe that the position of the Malays is in danger.
“As you know, the police and military are also fundamentally Malay-based institutions. That is why it is very important for us to handle this issue with care,” he said.
Khalid was speaking to reporters in the Parliament lobby on Monday (April 8), in response to Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who was quoted as saying that the Cabinet’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute was a “political” move done in fear of a coup d’etat.
Khalid drew the example of the 2013 Egyptian coup d’etat, when Mohamed Morsi was removed by the military as the President of Egypt.
“Even in Egypt, where the issue of racial diversity does not exist, but the sense of insecurity and uncertainty with the emergence of a new government, following a democratic election, was capitalised by the ‘deep state’.
“So, in our position, we must be careful,” he said.
Khalid said the government’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute was because the Conference of Rulers was dragged into the matter.
He said that many issues such as questioning Malay rights and the position of the rulers can be potentially capitalised on by quarters with vested interests to create public disorder and mass mobilisation.
“Because, as you all understand, the issue we are facing are accusations that the government is anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-royalty.
“After the academicians have come up with statements portraying that the statute will jeopardise the position of the royalty, so we have to take this issue (Rome Statute) into consideration,” he said.
On Sunday (April 7), a group of student activists claimed that a summary paper, prepared by a group of academics to convince the Conference of Rulers to reject the Rome Statute, was one sided.
Saifuddin was also quoted on Sunday as saying that history had shown that the attempt of a coup d’etat is usually plotted by the “deep state” and it is a common reaction towards democratic advancement following an election.
“(There was the) possibility of the issue being manipulated to the extent that people go to the streets, moved by the ‘deep state’ and certain apparatus,” he was quoted as saying by several news reports.
The deep state refers to a secret government or network, typically consisting of the military, secret police, intelligence agencies or even civil servants, which acts independently of the country’s political leadership.
Saifuddin, however, refused to clarify the definition of a ‘deep state’ within the Malaysian context.
Last Friday (April 5), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government was forced to withdraw from the Rome Statute following “confusion created by those with political interests”.
First published in thestar.com.my