Ketuanan Melayu (Malay for "Malay supremacy") is the system of constitutionally guaranteed special rights to ethnic Malays, and other indigenous ethnic groups collectively known as bumiputra, in Malaysia. These special privileges are set out in Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia. This quid pro quo arrangement is usually referred to as the Malaysian social contract. The concept of ketuanan Melayu is usually referenced by politicians, particularly those from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the most influential political party in Malaysia. Although the idea itself predates Malaysian independence, the phrase ketuanan Melayu did not come into vogue until the early 2000s.
The idea of Malay supremacy gained attention in the 1940s, when the Malays organized themselves to protest the Malayan Union's establishment (and later fought for independence). The Union intended to grant Malaysian citizenship to all existing residents, which included a predominant number of recently-immigrated Singaporeans who had gained significant wealth during Malaysia's industrialization. The system of "special rights" were geared to ensure Malay influence over the country of Malaysia.
The portions of the Constitution related to ketuanan Melayu were "entrenched" after the racial riots of May 13, 1969. This period also saw the rise of "ultras" who advocated a one-party government led by UMNO, and an increased emphasis on the Malays being the "definitive people" of Malaysia.
The most vocal opposition towards the concept has come from non-Malay-based parties, such as the Democratic Action Party (DAP); although pre-independence, the Straits Chinese also agitated against it. During the 2000s politicians began stressing ketuanan Melayu again, and publicly chastised government ministers who questioned the social contract.