Members of the Malaysian Indian Muslim Youth Movement (Gepima) want to be known as Malays and not Indians since the the country's constitution states that an Indian is a Malay "if he professes the Muslim religion, habitually speaks Malay and conforms to Malay custom".
"I am a second generation Malaysian and I can safely say that from wedding rituals to the food we eat and the language we speak, we conform to Malay customs all the way," said Gepima president Mohamed Kader Ali.
He said since these traits are widely practised by Muslims of Indian origin today, "Gepima is appealing to the government to streamline the laws and recognise Muslims born after independence as Malays in their birth certificate."
"We have written several letters to the National Registration Department but it keeps saying that it can't do anything about this," Ali was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times online. "We have been facing this problem for the past 50 years."
Ethnic Indians in Malaysia are mostly Hindus with origin from Tamil Nadu. They have become increasingly vocal with claims that they are marginalised in this multi-racial country.
Syed Osman Mohamed, Ali's 24-year-old son, said we "feel uncomfortable to be known as Indians, because people automatically think we are Hindus when we are actually Muslim."
Ali said our children do not even know how to speak Tamil. "They only converse in Malay and our wives wear baju kurung or kebaya nowadays, no more the saree," he said.
Last Mod: 03 Mart 2008, 15:55