The politics of inequality

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.

“This is our fate now. We plan to achieve developed-nation status by 2020. Our nation might get there. But, because of disunity, what we planned in vision 2020 for (the Malays) may not materialise,” he said, repeating his diatribe that some one million Chinese and Indians were given citizenship after Merdeka in 1957, which eventually led to the dilution of Malay power.

But this is strange, coming from the man whose The Way Forward speech in 1991 defined Malaysia’s Vision 2020 for a fully developed nation.

Then, he had called for the eventual Bangsa Malaysia, and there was hardly talk of political dominance by one race or the other.

This is what Dr Mahathir said then, “By the year 2020, Malaysia can be a united nation, with a confident Malaysian society, infused by strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous, and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.”

“There can be no fully developed Malaysia until we have finally overcome the nine central strategic challenges that have confronted us from the moment of our birth as an independent nation.

“The first of these is the challenge of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially, and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.

“The second is the challenge of creating a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of hat it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity.

“This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.

“The third challenge we have always faced is that of fostering and developing a mature democratic society practising a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.

“The fourth is the challenge of establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religions and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards.

“The fifth challenge that we have always faced is the challenge of establishing a mature, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practise and profess their customs, cultures and religious belief and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.

“The sixth is the challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a consumer or technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilization of the future.

“The seventh challenge is the challenge of establishing a fully caring society that will put others before self, in which the welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family.

“The eighth is the challenge of ensuring an economically-just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress. Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race.

“The ninth challenge is the challenge of establishing a prosperous society, with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient,” he had said, noting Malaysia has come a long way to fulfil the objectives.

But today, Dr Mahathir sings a different tune. Perhaps we were taken in then and did not analyse his 1991 speech that promised a Bangsa Malaysia where race and political dominance by race was not even mentioned.

Yet, his words then have stirred Malaysians to work together to overcome the nine challenges that he had identified. And in that time, economic inequalities between the races have smoothened out as much as political inequalities.

More importantly, be it from the days of Tunku Abdul Rahman to current prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak – Umno has worked with political parties that represented other races.

The party knows it cannot go it alone to govern Malaysia. And the fact that its near total dominance of the Barisan Nsaional (BN) in the past years have cost MCA and MIC, and even Gerakan and PPP, much of their state and federal seats.

No sir, the Malays do not have to beg other races to keep power anymore. We are all Malaysians, your Bangsa Malaysia, and we look beyond skin colour and ethnicity when deciding our government of the day.

What Malaysians are looking for is an honest and hardworking government that is fair to all. A government that keeps your nine challenges as a guide to a better Malaysia.

We are not a country of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Murut, Iban, Orang Ulus and Orang Asals. We are a country of Malaysians, and definitely not a people who are politically weak that they have to beg to keep power.

It does not matter who leads the parties or runs the government as long as they are Malaysians who do a good job for Malaysia. – December 20, 2014.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Saturday, 20 December 2014 - 7:21 pm

    Congratulations, MMK, 4 engineering/making what dis 1DERful land is TODAY
    May MMK live 2 C d day dis 1DERful land disintegrate under his (n UmnoB’s) racist policy/practice (divide n rule) n often racial profiling efforts

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Saturday, 20 December 2014 - 10:30 pm

    Fr d nasty crook mentioned in ‘Memoirs of Tan Sri Ani Arope’
    “It was all fixed up.”

  3. #3 by Noble House on Sunday, 21 December 2014 - 4:58 am

    When we recall our own memories, we are not extracting a perfect record of our experiences and playing it back verbatim. If what Tun Mahathir delivers is the directions on how to defuse a ticking time-bomb, then that’s great, but not a good idea if there is malicious intent in his own writing.

  4. #4 by winstony on Sunday, 21 December 2014 - 1:07 pm

    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. – End of quote

    This fella is becoming more and more of a buffoon!!
    We know which faction of Malays are begging from the other races.
    Especially when votes are concerned!!!
    But when they are soundly rebuffed, they did not hesitate to revile them.
    And they throw their now long outdated race and religious issues at them as well.
    Nothing is sacred!!!
    These creatures are repugnant in the extreme.
    That’s why all Malaysians must redouble their effort to ensure that their regime be brought to an end as soon as possible.

  5. #5 by good coolie on Monday, 22 December 2014 - 7:40 pm

    Dr. Mahatir’s vision of Malaysia in 2020 must have been one of Utopia. When he formulated his 2020 vision some years ago, he surmised he would not be alive in 2020 to see his vision fulfilled. Now it is clear that he is in good health (thanks to God); nevertheless, he is going to see a destroyed vision, a vision that he himself has tirelessly undermined with his racist rhetoric.

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