2:17pm 07/06/2023
Why do some Malays still trust Dr. Mahathir?
By:Mariam Mokhtar

It ought to weigh heavily on the minds of the Malay leaders who joined former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in support of his pro-Malay Proclamation that this movement will not resolve anything.

Have these politicians short memories? Didn’t Mahathir once said, “Melayu mudah lupa?

The mess we are in today had its beginnings during Mahathir’s first tenure as PM.

Malaysia’s longest-serving PM ruled for 22 years (1981 – 2003). He also served a second term of 22 months under the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Most of us felt cheated. We  were deceived into thinking that the nonagenarian had finally acknowledged his past mistakes and was prepared to put right many of his discriminatory policies.

We were wrong and stupid!

Among the politicians present at Mahathir’s press conference were PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, Bersatu information chief Razali Idris, Muafakat Nasional chairman Annuar Musa, Pejuang chairman Mukhriz Mahathir, Putra president Ibrahim Ali, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim, former Tanjong Karang MP Noh Omar and former Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin.

At some point in the past, some of these people were highly critical of Mahathir, and he, of them, but that did not stop them from putting aside their differences to work together.

So, is this a desperate move or a tactical maneuver?

Remember how Umno-Baru or PAS claimed that they were the only parties which could protect the Malays and defend Islam?

Today, the latest clones of Umno-Baru, Bersatu and Pejuang, share the same message.

Are today’s youth aware that for four decades the Malays were inundated with the emotional baggage of race, religion and royalty on a daily basis?

Mahathir and his ilk pushed affirmative action policies which crippled the country.

Behind the backs of ordinary Malays, he handsomely rewarded select Malays, most of whom were family members, and non-Malays, his cronies whom he deemed worthy of his favors.

He killed off the aspirations of many Malaysians. Disillusioned by the lack of leadership, many left, never to return. The exodus includes the Malays.

After four decades, divisive politicians have severely damaged the nation.

The Malays who still worship Mahathir and Hadi are probably deluded into thinking that these two old guards will somehow bring about a Malay-Muslim renaissance. They will not!

The Malays today are a fractured community. They may live in multicultural Malaysia but what they experience daily is tribal politics.

The Muslims have become scared of dogs, the cross, and want to copyright the word “Allah.”

The non-Malays are relegated to a secondary role in the running of the nation even though they are true-blue Malaysians.

The participants of yesterday’s pro-Malay Proclamation agreed not to contest against each other in elections, and said they were considering whether they should team up for the upcoming state elections.

Knowing that he is highly mistrusted, Mahathir stressed that the Malay Proclamation movement was not against the non-Malays.

Mahathir said he wanted to focus on fighting for the well-being of the Malay community who were struggling financially.

Has it ever dawned on him and his new team that this is one of the clearest signs that Mahathir’s divisive policies are a failure?

He said the movement would discuss the weaknesses faced by the Malays and then find ways to overcome them. He agreed that they had to be united.

The irony is that “Mahathir mudah lupa.” After decades of manipulating Malaysians, dividing the various ethnic groups and rewarding only those from his inner circle, Mahathir turned on Malaysians, in particular the Malays, and called them lazy, dishonest, cheats and liars.

Mahathir forgot the provisos.  Most of the Malays he refers to are Umno-Baru Malays, and opportunists found in every racial grouping.

With his racist rhetoric and his lure of handouts for the Malays, he left at least two generations of Malays with a deep sense of entitlement.

Nevertheless, there are millions of Malays who are hard-working, honest, loyal and law-abiding.

Like many of their non-Malay peers, ordinary Malays may not have access to the resources needed to succeed.

The majority of Malaysians are hampered and crippled by the Umno-Baru Malays, many of whom occupy positions of authority and dictate what can or cannot be done.

So, what is the real reason that Mahathir, Hadi and the other Malay politicians have teamed up for this pro-Malay movement?

Is Mahathir angry that his legacy will be forgotten? Is he concerned that many ordinary Malays are beginning to realize that they do not need the crutches of the NEP? Is Hadi angry that his extremist brand of Islam is rejected by normal law-abiding and progressive Malays?

Is Mahathir angry that time is running out for Mukhriz to win the most coveted prize in Malaysian politics – the prime ministership? Are both Mahathir and Hadi disturbed that progressive Malays are openly ignoring racist and religious rhetoric, and it must worry them that many Malays are part of the worrying brain drain to work and live abroad?

The Malays who still worship Mahathir and Hadi are probably deluded into thinking that these two old guards will somehow bring about a Malay-Muslim renaissance.

They will not!

These two men wasted decades during which time they could have brought about positive change, but in the end nothing changed.

Will Malaysians ever learn?  When will they stop being fooled again?


  1. Malaysiakini: Malay Proclamation signatories will not clash during polls: Dr. M

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)


Mariam Mokhtar
Hadi Awang
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Proklamasi Orang Melayu
state elections


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