Archive for category nation building

Tunku and Pak Samad are quintessential Malaysians who must be the models for Malaysians to emulate if we want Malaysia to succeed as a truly developed nation by 2020

This is a “double honour” gathering, to remember a statesman Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia and to celebrate a national laureate, Pak Samad, not just because they share the same birthday on February 8, but because they are quintessential Malaysians, the embodiment of what a Malaysian should be, transcending race, religion and region, representing what is best for decent and civilized human beings, espousing the causes of truth, freedom, justice and dignity for all.

Tunku and Pak Samad should be models for all Malaysians to emulate if we want Malaysia to succeed as a truly developed nation by 2020, as envisaged by Vision 2020.

A quintessential Malaysian is a rare commodity in Malaysia today, although we are in the fifth decade of nationhood – 57 years after Merdeka in 1957 and 51 years after the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

I am reminded of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities (my Form Four textbook – and it is another sign of worsening times in Malaysia that our students today do not have such textbooks anymore) and how the novel started, which seemed also to describe the national situation in Malaysia today, viz:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

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My lawyers instructed to institute criminal and civil proceedings against an UMNO blogger Syed Akhbar Ali for his defamatory tweet insinuating that I am a communist and racialist who is anti-Malay who caused the May 13 race riots

I have instructed my lawyers to institute criminal and civil proceedings against an UMNO blogger Syed Akhbar Ali for a defamatory tweet late last night insinuating that I am a communist and a racialist who is anti-Malay who caused the May 13 race riots.

Syed Akhbar’s tweet carried a graphic of me in the garb of Mao Tse Tung, alleging that I am “Bapa 13 Mei”, and accusing me of having caused the May 13 race riots in 1969 because of my anti-Malay statements and slogans, with a caption “’MELAYU KELUAR! APA LAGI DUDUK SINI, KITA HENTAM LU, SEKARANG KITA SUDAH ADA KUASA” LIM KIT SIANG (BAPA 13 MEI).

The graphic in Syed Akbar’s tweet alleged that I had made the following statements in the following places and dates:

1. Menggunakan slogan “Malai-Si” bermaksud “Mati Melayu”.

2. “Apa polis boleh buat, kita Raja. Buang sama polis Melayu.”
– (11 Mei 69, Bukit Bintang)

3. “Mati Melayu, sakai pergi masuk hutan”.
– (11 Mei 69, Jalan Bukit Bintang).

4. “KL sekarang cina punya”.
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Open Letter to Ministers an hour before Cabinet meeting – Don’t be “half-past six Cabinet” of “deadwood” Ministers, and don’t be moral pygmies and political dwarfs but take a stand on behalf of present and future generations on the great issue of right and wrong in Malaysia

Only last Thursday, I had the occasion to comment that the Malaysian Cabinet Edition 2015 is probably the worst in the 58-year Malaysian history – acting like the traditional three monkeys with eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not.

This was when the Cabinet failed to repudiate and reprimand the Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan for his irresponsible and reckless statement that the restoration of local government elections could worsen racial polarisation in support of the equally bizarre statement by the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang that the restoration of the third vote could cause a repeat of the May 13 race riots.

Abdul Rahman is the most irresponsible Local Government Minister in the nation’s history for no other Local Government Minister had ever made such a statement in the past 50 years since the suspension of local government elections on March 1965 on the ground of threat from Indonesian Confrontation.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had dismissed the previous Cabinet as “half-past six” and the former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin was no less caustic when he talked about “deadwood” Ministers.

But the Cabinet 2015 seems set on proving Mahathir and Daim right in their condemnation of the quality, character and even work ethics of the current batch of Cabinet Ministers.

The Cabinet 2015 had already totted up several major failures in the first month of the new year, including: Read the rest of this entry »

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Same old racial mindset in 1Malaysia

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
2 February 2015

We have celebrated 51 years as Malaysians but to some people, we are still in the racial silos of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Others. And with that come all the stereotypes of each race.

Mind you, this racial mindset still persists despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia campaign to bring all Malaysians together after the fractious 2008 polls where Barisan Nasional (BN) saw its majority evaporate to less than the customary two-thirds in the federal parliament.

1Malaysia has been hardly heard of since BN’s further losses in 2013 and there is a good reason for that: Najib’s colleagues in his hand-picked Cabinet have not much regard for it.

Take the latest volley from Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who wrote in his Facebook account that the Malays should boycott Chinese businesses, singling out the Old Town White Coffee franchise because of its alleged DAP links. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why silence from IGP on Minister Ismail when Khalid would have tweeted directive to police to investigate DAP or PR leaders under Sedition Act if they had expressed similar racist sentiments?

If a PAS or PKR leader had called on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses to lower prices or a DAP leader had called on non-Malay customers to boycott Malay businesses to lower prices, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar would have immediately tweeted directive to his police officers to investigate the DAP or PR leaders
under Sedition Act or a whole host of other laws.

Why then the unusual silence from the Inspector-General of Police when the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob called on Malays to boycott Chinese businesses to lower prices?

Has Khalid’s twitter account broken down or is Bukit Aman suffering from a breakdown of internet access?

This itself highlights the double-standards which the IGP had been conducting himself, doing a great disservice to the professionalism and integrity of the overwhelming majority of dedicated men and women in blue who had conscientiously and diligently carried out their duties to uphold the law without fear or favour.

I hope that within minutes of this statement going out, we will see Khalid in twitter action! Read the rest of this entry »

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Sad and tragic Prime Minister and Cabinet do not seem to be understand the grave sentiments expressed by Yang di Pertuan Agong that he had never been more concerned about race and religious relations in his 57 years as ruler

It is most sad and tragic that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet do not seem to understand the grave sentiments expressed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, Kedah Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, that he had never been more concerned about race and religious relations in the country since ascending to the throne 57 years ago in 1958 – a year after the country’s independence.

The year 2014 which ended about three weeks ago had been bedevilled by a host of disasters and misfortunes like

(1) the two air crashes of MH370 on March 8 and MH 17 of July 17 with a total toll of 537 crew members and passengers of different nationalities, together with a third air disaster in one year, Air Asia QZ8501 which crashed into Java Sea with 162 victims on Dec. 28;

(2) the year-end worst floods catastrophe within living memory, with close to a million flood victims, evacuating a quarter of a million flood refugees to the various flood relief centres, created the devastation of Zero Ground zones like Manek Urai, Kg. Manjur and Kg Karangan all in Kuala Krai, Kelantan, a death toll of 25 and billions of ringgit of damage;

(3) the burgeoning multi-billion ringgit 1MDB scandal threatening to become the “mother of all financial scandals” in Malaysia; Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s time we decide the country we want

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
16 January 2015

Malaysians used to be more tolerant than we are today. Once upon a time in a not-so-distant past, we used to visit each other’s open houses freely without worry. The idea of what was halal or haram was mutually understood and we didn’t have holier-than-thou organisations to tell us that we couldn’t mingle with fellow Malaysians who professed different religions because they were a threat to our own faiths. We ate and drank together while some of us even played mahjong until dawn.

But now, our society has swayed from tolerance and respect to antithetical values that condemn logic and defend non-negotiable conservatism. Traditionalists may twist the articulations of conscience to justify their causes but their narratives are often arbitrary and sometimes quite laughable. Consider the controversies that surround our society: for instance, the recent furore over a K-Pop act, school principals not allowing non-Malay students to wear the baju kurung, arguments over “domesticated genes” and so on. The voices of the absurd and the one dimensional are becoming louder with each passing day, only because they have been sanctioned to spread intolerance by the powers that be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Razak’s young Turk talks about his mentor

by Md Izwan
The Malaysian Insider
14 January 2015

To commemorate the 39th death anniversary of Malaysia’s second prime minister and “Father of Development” Tun Abdul Razak, The Malaysian Insider is running a series of interviews with his colleagues and close associates who, with Razak, steered Malaysia through the early days of rebuilding following the race riots of May 13, 1969.

Earlier today, we heard from four of Razak’s sons on his legacy and their personal memories of their father.

In this article, former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam speaks about Razak’s leadership style and of his experience working with the man who brought him back to Umno after his expulsion. Musa had been expelled from Umno after the race riots over a fall-out with the then prime minister and Umno president, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Readmitted to the party by Razak, Musa went on to rise in Umno and also held the post of Minister of Primary Industries in Razak’s cabinet.

Despite the political tension surrounding Tunku’s departure and Razak’s ascension as prime minister, Musa remembers his mentor for his gentleness, patience and consultative approach, coupled with his firmness to see a decision through once it was made. These were values, Musa says, that Razak knew were needed to manage a multireligious and multiracial country like Malaysia.

TMI: What kind of person was Tun Razak to you? As a leader, a friend or a colleague?

Musa: Tun Razak was a national leader in the true sense of the word. He had vision and perception. He understood the priorities of our country on attaining independence. The long term interest of the nation, to him, was a united Malaysian nation based on the principle of unity within diversity. Read the rest of this entry »

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What does ‘moderate’ mean?

By Hafidz Baharom
Free Malaysia Today
January 14, 2015

COMMENT

The writer disagrees with those who say that extremism is not a major Malaysian problem.

I would like to respond to the letter dated January 12 published in The Star entitled “Ethnic divide, not extremism is the problem” signed by 33 high-profile learned Malays from all walks of life . They argued that ethnic divide and not extremism is the major problem facing Malaysia.

I do not deny a growing ethnic divide. I take Shah Alam as an example. The citizenry of Shah Alam has always been majority Malay, yet in my time at primary and secondary school, we still had a large group of non-Malay friends in the classroom. Such is not the case these days.

However, this was not the issue highlighted by the open letter of the 25 retired civil servants to the Prime Minister. Instead, the letter focused on the internal struggle within the Malay community and, in particular, on those using religion as a mere tool to garner support.

In my definition, the fight against extremism is the struggle against those who insist on using the Malay community and Islam to call to behaviour that either is violent, instils fear, or is just plain ridiculous.

In other words, anything beyond moderate is “zalim” or extreme. Read the rest of this entry »

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My father would be shocked, says Nazir Razak

BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
14 January 2015

The youngest son of Malaysia’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, who died on this day 39 years ago, has called for the setting up of a national consultative council to bring Malaysians together, just as his father did after the 1969 race riots.

Banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said this when asked by The Malaysian Insider (TMI) what message his father would convey if he could speak to Malaysians today.

“I think he would say that it is time to set up another national consultative council, like he did in 1970, to discuss critical issues around preserving harmony and fostering unity amongst Malaysians,” says Nazir. “I think he would be shocked that it is 2015 and race and religion divide Malaysians even more today than during his time.”

Nazir was replying to questions posed to him and his other brothers, Johari, Nizam and Nazim about their father as part of a series of articles TMI will be publishing over the next few days to mark the passing of Razak, who died of leukaemia in London in 1976, to the shock of the nation, at the young age of 54. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hishammuddin is right that the terrorism attacks in Paris which finally left 20 dead can happen in Malaysia but why are the extremists in the country allowed to purvey their rhetoric and politics of hatred and intolerance unchecked?

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is right when he warned yesterday that the terrorism attack in Paris, which finally left 20 dead, can also happen in Malaysia.

Hishammuddin said he came back from Paris and London last month where he had discussion with their intelligence agencies and what happened was not something unexpected.

He said what happened in France should not be taken lightly as it is not impossible to face the same scenario in the country, and that Malaysia must beef up its security, especially in the Sabah coastal area.

It is most unfortunate that the Defence Minister is looking at the problem solely from the perspective of security intelligence, preparations and assets instead of why Malaysia is becoming increasingly prone to threats of terrorism, whether in the country or emanating from the country as evidenced by Malaysians rallying to Islamic State’s Caliphate cause despite mass murders and beheadings.

The Global Terrorism Index 2014 released by the Institute of Economic and Peace in November, where Malaysia climbed 42 places in the international terrorism indicator, citing religious extremism as the primary cause of terror attacks worldwide, should be a wake-up call that the peace, harmony and unity of Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural polity is placed in jeopardy if nothing is done to check the rhetoric and politics of hatred, intolerance and extremism which had increasingly aggravated racial and religious polarization in recent years. Read the rest of this entry »

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I am Muslim, and I am Malaysian: The story behind the #Iam26 petition

— Tariq Ismail
The Malay Mail Online
January 6, 2015

JANUARY 6 — This is a call to Malay Muslims. This is a call to Malaysians.

For centuries since the Malaccan Empire to modern times, the Malays have lived and worked with other races. Our culture has been a melting pot of Chinese, Indian, Arabic and Indonesian and this is what makes Malays unique to the world.

Age old adats are still practised today and one Malay adat stands out above the rest — RESPECT. It has been ingrained within us since childhood to respect our elders, our neighbours and each other. But before we begin to respect one another we must first respect ourselves.

I grew up a spoilt brat within my own four walls as a result of my upbringing. I went to the best schools that were afforded to me and my lingua franca whilst growing up was English and Malay. But what held me together, and I thank both my parents and late grandmother Toh Puan Norashikin for this, was religion.

Without going into too much detail of how my religion was taught to me back then, there is one fundamental core that I subscribe to and which I wish to share with everyone — both Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Read the rest of this entry »

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Email to Najib asking for meeting before Wednesday’s Cabinet on five important measures to deal with worst floods in recent decades, including the formation of a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Floods Catastrophe Joint Action Council

Before 9 pm last night, I sent an email to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak asking for a meeting before Wednesday’s Cabinet on five important measures to deal with the worst floods in recent decades, including the formation of a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Floods Catastrophe Joint Action Council.

The floods catastrophe in the past fortnight – which the Prime Minister only realized was a major catastrophe and that Gua Musang and Kuala Krai were among the two worst-hit areas on the fourth day of his return from Hawaii – is a major national disaster and saw the best quality of all Malaysians.

This was the ability of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, politics, gender or age to unite and come to the aid of the flood victims – with a quarter of a million people evacuated to the relief centres and easily a million of the total number of people affected by the floods catastrophe.

The costs of the floods catastrophe has been estimated at RM1 billion, and still counting – with the Meteorological Department warning that although the worst of the second wave of the floods catastrophe seemed to be over, a third wave of the monsoon surge is expected to begin on Jan 7 or 8, with possible continuous heavy rainfall up to three days over certain states, especially in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

The formation of a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Floods Catastrophe Joint Action Council will formalize what is already happening on the ground in the various flood-stricken states with regard to the flood relief efforts being rendered by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parties and members to the flood victims, regardless of race, religion or state in the past fortnight. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to trigger a Malay renaissance

By Hafidz Baharom
Malaysiakini
Jan 1, 2015

COMMENT It is clearly numbing that we have certain parties thinking that getting 20,000 Malays at a singular event somehow will give birth to a renaissance period here in Malaysia. I will say this openly, that will not be a renaissance. It would just be a pathetic flash mob entitled, ‘I talk, you all listen’.

In the last week, the Malay Consultative Council or Majlis Perundingan Melayu (MPM) decided that there was a need to re-establish Malay dominance in the country through a renaissance.

Of course, they brought up the same old so-called threats – lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs), liberalism, secularism and the usual suspects – threatening the Malaysian way of life.

For those who may not know this, the MPM is made up of a huge list of Malay NGOs, including the Malay Chambers of Commerce (DPMM), my alma mater alumni organisation Alumni UiTM, Cuepacs, the Malay College Old Boys Association (MCOBA) and even the Malaysian Malay Contractors Association.

Though personally, it makes no sense to me how alumni associations involving schools, universities and even Mara Junior Science Colleges (MRSMs) could even think of backing this movement in the first place.

Firstly, for all the lawyers out there; if an organisation says they were appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office but have no letter nor official documentation to prove it, would that be a case of fraud or false representation?

And secondly, would all parties involved in the council that made that statement be liable for legal action under the Penal Code? Read the rest of this entry »

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Finding hope for Malaysia in 2015

By Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
Jan 1, 2015

COMMENT Difficult is an understatement for the year Malaysia had in 2014. Today marks a new beginning, an opportunity for assessment and moving forward.

With so many Malaysians suffering from bouts of despair with the national leadership on both sides of the political divide, I wanted to take an opportunity to share some positive observations on the present situation and the country’s future.

Despite all the challenges the country faces, it is vital not to be blinded by negativity. Doing so will let the dark forces that have been fanned since 2013 win. Malaysians deserve better – a hope for change and the promise of better governance.

While acknowledging the devastating tragedies of last year as well as the deterioration in race relations and the woefully inadequate performance of political leaders, I highlight here developments and lessons that are strengthening, and can further strengthen, Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s band together against the extremists in 2015

Zan Azlee
The Malaysian Insider
2 January 2015

Another new year has arrived and we are now in 2015. I have never declared or committed myself to any new year resolution because I think it’s all crap. You change when you want to change.

But this time, I’m going to commit to a resolution. It is simple. I will continue to use every platform that I have to promote moderation, open-mindedness, multiculturalism and religious pluralism.

I have done it for years and will continue doing it with even stronger force this year because 2014, to me, was the year of overbearing racial and religious extremism.

Groups like Isma and Perkasa, and individuals like Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, have been so loud throughout last year that my ears are still aching and ringing into the new year. They definitely do not speak for me. Read the rest of this entry »

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2015, time for moderate Malaysians to stand up

BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS AND MD IZWAN
The Malaysian Insider
31 December 2014

As Malaysians bid farewell to 2014, moderate Malaysians have been urged to stand up and beat back the tide of hate and bigotry that have inflamed communal relations throughout the year.

A group of progressive Malays today hoped that Malaysians would be able to reclaim the national conversation on race and religion and reject extremist elements brought about by certain quarters.

This, they argued, was because it was up to each individual to preserve the tolerance, moderation and respect that had been an enduring feature of the country’s pluralistic society.

“Moderation has to be promoted not just because that is what our forefathers wanted for us,” said former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam.

“But because it is one of the ways which our country will remain peaceful and harmonious,” he said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider.

Musa said 2015 would be even more challenging for Malaysia socially and economically, given the depressing forecast on the world economy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians must stay strong, hopeful and confident despite a year of great adversities with three air disasters, worst floods disaster in decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism to build a common, united, moderate and prosperous future for all Malaysians

2015 New Year Message

    It is so easy to give way to despair at the tides of adversity Malaysians have to go through in 2014 and to write off the future for Malaysia – the unprecedented three air disasters in a year (MH370, MH17 and QZ8501) which no other country had ever had to experience, the worst floods disaster in recent decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism putting to the ultimate test the Merdeka and Malaysia national compacts of 1957 and 1963 to be an oasis of multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural harmony, tolerance and co-existence in an increasingly troubled and fractious world.

    Every cloud has a silver lining and this holds true for the adversities Malaysians had to undergo in 2014 – the air disasters and the worst floods disaster in decades galvanizing Malaysians to stand in sympathy, support and solidarity with the victims and the aggrieved and the rise of moderates, best exemplified by the Open Letter by 25 Eminent Malays to the Prime Minister and the snowballing of support by ordinary moderate Malaysians regardless of race, religion, politics or region to save Malaysia from the bigots and extremists.

    Malaysians must stay strong, hopeful and confident despite a year of great adversities with three air disasters, the worst floods disaster in decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism to build a common, united, moderate and prosperous future for all Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib and Cabinet to endorse the Open Letter of 25 Eminents to send a clear message to the nation and the world that Malaysian government fully committed to moderation against intolerance, extremism and bigotry

The Open Letter by 25 Malay former top civil servants and personalities on December 8 asking the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to show leadership against festering extremism and intolerance is undoubtedly the No. 1 News Event of the Year.

Never before has an Open Letter by the citizenry struck such a resounding chord in our multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, as evidenced by the enthusiastic support from all groups of Malaysian society, not confined to Malays and Muslims, like ‘I am #26’ online petition with over 5,000 supporters; “KamiJuga25″ (We, too, are 25),signed by over 1,600 supporters; 95 NGOs in Malaysia, 22 Muslim activists and a multitude of support demonstrated by diverse groups and strata of Malaysian society in the past fortnight.

But the reaction has started, and the assaults on the 25 Eminents will escalate in personal attacks, character-assassination and viciousness employing the full resources of the intolerant and extremist media and social as we witnessed in the past two days.

This is the time for all moderates, crossing race, religious, gender, age and even political party lines to take a stand for moderation and marginalize, isolate and defeat intolerance, extremism and bigotry which are the greatest threats and enemies of a plural society like Malaysia.

This is the time for the positive politics of inclusion to replace the negative politics of exclusion! Read the rest of this entry »

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The politics of inequality

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
20 December 2014

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not mince his words. Not since he started in politics and definitely not now, more than a decade after stepping down as Malaysia’s fourth prime minister.

But there are days where you wonder where is he coming from. Today, he said the Malays’ grip on politics was weak due to disunity and them having to beg from other races for support to remain in power.

“Now Umno, PKR, and PAS have to beg for support from DAP Chinese to win the general election. When we become beggars, we no longer have power,” he said in his keynote address at a youth leadership programme in Kuala Lumpur.

He added that even if the country achieved developed-nation status, the Malays might be left behind. Read the rest of this entry »

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