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THERE needs to be change when it comes to politics and the appointment of the country’s top leadership.

Malaysia is home to many races, cultures and religions and everyone needs to be given equal opportunities to lead the country to a better future.

Recently, British politician Rishi Sunak became the first non-white prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Sunak was the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2020 to 2022 and Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2020.

A member of the Conservative Party, he has been an MP for Richmond (Yorks) since 2015.

Born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent, who migrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s, Sunak was educated at Winchester College.

In July 2022, he stood in the Conservative Party leadership election to replace Johnson and lost the members’ vote to Liz Truss.

Following Truss’s resignation amid a government crisis, Sunak won the October 2022 Conservative Party leadership election.

He became the first Asian British prime minister and the youngest since 1812.

Not to forget, in 2008, Americans voted for Barack Obama, an African American, to become their country’s 44th president.

He was the first African American to hold the presidential office since the country gained its independence in 1776.

All these changes are good signals that people are no longer judged based on the colour of their skin or racial status but on their ability to carry out their duties and responsibilities.

As Malaysia will be having its elections on Nov 19, politicians have begun to make promises to draw in votes.

Among them, is appointing suitable candidates from Sabah and Sarawak to become our deputy prime minister (DPM).

Besides that, it is also hoped that Malaysia can take a bold step by allowing any suitable and capable individual, regardless of their race, become our DPM or prime minister (PM).

By right, every Malaysian should be given an equal opportunity to hold an important political position.

It is crucial to note that race is not a requirement to becoming a DPM or PM.

What is mentioned in the Federal Constitution is that for anyone to become a PM, a person needs to sit for an election and become a Member of Parliament (MP).

Once a person becomes an MP, he then needs to get majority support from Dewan Rakyat members before his name is submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for consideration to become the country’s PM.

Article 43(1) and (2) of the Federal Constitution, states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is required to appoint a Cabinet to advise him in the exercise of his executive functions.

This indicates that race is not required to become the country’s top leader.

What is important is that the person fulfils all the requirements stipulated under the Federal Constitution for him to become the PM and is capable of running the country.

As for the position of DPM, the position is not provided for in the Federal Constitution. The PM may choose not to appoint one.

At the same time, the PM could appoint more than one DPM.

Since there are no stipulated requirements for the appointment of a DPM, there should not be a problem in appointing any suitable candidates.

As a multiracial country, mutual respect and tolerance are crucial. Without it, Malaysia will certainly head towards destruction.

Everyone needs to set aside their differences to work together and ensure Malaysia’s progress.

We should be grateful for our multiracial society as it allows us to know and help each other, improve ourselves to become better people and to become a better society and a successful nation.

God created human beings and gave them many races so that our lives would be more meaningful, cheerful and enjoyable through the spirit of friendship and cooperation.

By having different races, we get to know other people’s cultures as well as their way of life, thus allowing an exchange of knowledge and ideas.

There is no such thing as a perfect individual or a perfect race.

We need to rely on one another if we want to succeed and ensure society progresses, as well as make our country great.

Instead of arguing with each other, we must learn and cooperate together so that we can live in peace and prosperity.

With the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the number of races and ethnicities in the country has increased significantly.

As a multiracial country, conflict and misunderstanding can easily erupt if we are not respectful and sensitive towards each other.

Muzaffar Syah Mallow is an associate professor at the Faculty of Syariah and Laws (FSU) in Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). Comments: letters@thesundaily.com