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Abandon retrograding thinking

Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad again shocked the country with his remarks. In his views, the Malays accounting for 60% of the country's population should be the main ruler. However, Malay votes have now split into three, causing Malay political parties to become "beggars" asking for support from other races, particularly the Chinese, to win elections.

The remarks carried heavy taste of racism. It is not in line with Mahathir's status, while going the opposition direction of the "anti-extremism and support moderation" atmosphere being actively promoted by various races in recent days.

Mahathir still actively makes political views even though he has stepped down for 11 years. He often openly questioned or criticised the leadership of incumbent prime minister. The criticism against former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi was the sharpest and his opinion about current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also grown imperious, forming a pressure on the government's reform plans and hindering the implementation of these reform programmes. To some extent, it has affected the country's political situation. And it seems that the latest "beggar" remarks was made to mock Najib who stressed on the need of Umno to fight for Chinese votes at Umno's general meeting last month.

For political parties, each and every vote, including Chinese votes, is precious and must be fought for to win political power. To consolidate Umno and BN's regime, what is wrong for Najib to fight for Chinese support? It is undoubtedly an insult when Mahathir called the Malays, particularly those who are enlightened and possess democratic consciousness, beggars. Today, Mahathir criticised Najib for "begging" for support from the Chinese but he has forgotten that in the 1999 General Election, the BN might have collapsed if it did not receive overwhelming support from Chinese voters.

In addition, the open letter jointly issued by 25 prominent Malays (G25) has cause great responses nationwide and many have come forward regardless of race and religion to support the moderation movement advocated by the G25. Meanwhile, Mahathir, who had led the country for 22 years, did not read the letter but instead made Malay domination racists remarks when criticising Najib. Unfortunately, these remarks are supported by Umno right-wingers, affecting the mindset of Malay community, obstructing Najib's policies and hindering national progress.

Mahathir's mindset of safeguarding Malay's interests has never changed since the publication of The Malay Dilemma in 1970. His two subjective views are: the Malay community has split, causing the Malays to rely on the support of other races to stay in power; and as the Chinese community is still in control of national health, the new economic policy must be carried on or the Malays will become losers. Such a mindset showed that although Mahathir had led the country for 22 years, there are only "Malays" in his heart, instead of "all Malaysians". His mindset has indeed fallen behind the times as Malaysia is currently actively promoting the spirit of "1Maalysia".

Mahathir has taken the split of Malay community to heart. In fact, the split is originated from the two splitting crises during his administration. The first was in 1989 when Tengku Razaleigh formed the 46 Malay Party (S46) and fought with Mahathir for the country's ruling power in 1990; while the second crisis was in 1998 when Mahathir removed the then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar from his office, which led to the formation of the PKR to contest in the 1999 General Election, and the rise of PAS. Instead of talking nonsense, he should reflect himself.

Malaysia needs a fair politics and a prime minister for all. Moderation is the only path that Malaysia should take. Mahathir's racist remarks are a retrograding advocacy that should be abandoned.


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