Mahathir says Chinese papers should be in Malay

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested today that Chinese and other vernacular newspapers be translated into the national language to avoid any misunderstanding and to promote better race relations.

In addressing the issue of the recent heightened race rhetoric in various print media, the former prime minister said racial issues occurred because there was a lack of understanding in the medium of languages, specifically in Chinese newspapers.

“While Chinese people understand Malay language newspapers, most Malays don’t understand the Chinese press. Sometimes when the Chinese press say something harmful, people will not get the idea because of the lack of understanding,” said Mahathir.

He was referring to a recent public outcry concerning racial remarks in Utusan Malaysia and Chinese newspapers Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Daily.

However, the tone has become sharply provocative in the case of the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia who have embarked on a campaign to reclaim the Muslim-Malay ground by branding segments of the community aligned with the opposition as traitors to the race and Islam.

Analysts note that this is a strategy to lure back Malays who abandoned Umno in the last election and force sections within PAS to question their allegiance to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The upcoming by-election is also a catalyst to Utusan’s growing racial slants.