Ketuanan Melayu

political concept emphasising Malay preeminence in present-day Malaysia

Ketuanan Melayu (Malay: Malay supremacy or Malay dominance) is the belief that the Malay people are the "tuan" (masters) of Malaysia.


  • It is understood by all that this country by its very name, its traditions and character, is Malay. … In any other country where aliens try to dominate economic and other fields, eventually there is bitter opposition from the indigenous people. But not with the Malays. Therefore, in return, they must appreciate the position of the Malays...
  • Of course there are Chinese millionaires in big cars and big houses. Is it the answer to make a few Malay millionaires with big cars and big houses? How does telling a Malay bus driver that he should support the party of his Malay director (UMNO) and the Chinese bus conductor to join another party of his Chinese director (MCA) - how does that improve the standards of the Malay bus driver and the Chinese bus conductor who are both workers in the same company? If we delude people into believing that they are poor because there are no Malay rights or because opposition members oppose Malay rights, where are we going to end up? You let people in the kampongs believe that they are poor because we don't speak Malay, because the government does not write in Malay, so he expects a miracle to take place in 1967 (the year Malay would become the national and sole official language in Malaysia). The moment we all start speaking Malay, he is going to have an uplift in the standard of living, and if doesn't happen, what happens then? Meanwhile, whenever there is a failure of economic, social and educational policies, you come back and say, oh, these wicked Chinese, Indian and others opposing Malay rights. They don't oppose Malay rights. They, the Malay, have the right as Malaysian citizens to go up to the level of training and education that the more competitive societies, the non-Malay society, has produced. That is what must be done, isn't it? Not to feed them with this obscurantist doctrine that all they have got to do is to get Malay rights for the few special Malays and their problem has been resolved.
    • Lee Kuan Yew, originally in the Malaysian Parliament, from his autobiography
  • They (the Malay extremists) have triggered off something basic and fundamental. Malaysia — to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian. This is the doubt that hangs over many minds, and the next contest, if this goes on, will be on very different lines.
    • Lee Kuan Yew, originally in the Malaysian Parliament, his autobiography
  • A passion for all that is related to the Malay race, such as political rights, language, culture, tradition and the homeland. The Malay peninsula is regarded as the Malays' traditional land.
    • Definition of ketuanan Melayu from a government-approved history textbook
  • In Malaysia, everybody knows that Malays are the masters of this land. We rule this country as provided for in the federal constitution. Any one who touches upon Malay affairs or criticizes Malays is [offending] our sensitivities.
  • We will not budge an inch to defend our rights, we will defend it to the last drop of our blood.
    • Mohd Zan Abu [1]
  • Do not challenge the Malays - it will ignite our spirit to run amok.
    • Razali Idris [2]
  • When tension rises, the blood of Malay warriors will run in our veins.
  • Umno is willing to risk lives and bathe in blood to defend the race and religion. Don't play with fire. If they (non-Malays) messed with our rights, we will mess with theirs.
  • If they question our rights, then we should question theirs. So far we have not heard the Malays questioning their right to citizenship when they came in droves from other countries.
  • These are the King, religion, culture, language and our country. No one should question these and we have set this out in our Constitution.
  • We should accept the fact that bumiputera rights is to stabilise (the races) in this country. Whether or not this is discriminatory, the question does not arise because this has been stated in the Federal Constitution.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz [7]

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