Dr M rapped for abandoning Bangsa Malaysia

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Opposition leaders criticised Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today for his warning to the Malay community yesterday, and accused the former prime minister of abandoning his own vision of uniting the nation.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks were also seen as an attack on Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia and the New Economic Model (NEM), both of which promote national unity and meritocracy.

“In one fell stroke yesterday, Mahathir had backtracked and repudiated Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia, causing a whole generation of Malaysians nurtured on Vision 2020 and the concept of Bangsa Malaysia to feel cheated by a national leader who had been the country’s longest-serving prime minister,” said Lim Kit Siang in a statement today.

“In 1990, beginning his second decade as prime minister, Mahathir spelt out Vision 2020 to achieve in 30 years a fully developed Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia with a sense of common and shared destiny, distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations,” said the DAP leader citing the Vision 2020 objective which became the hallmark of Dr Mahathir’s administration.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir mocked proponents of meritocracy in a blog posting, calling them racist and decried Malays who support meritocracy as having misplaced pride.

He also blasted advocates of meritocracy, calling them “meritocrats” pushing for dominance by one race in all aspects of the country.

Dr Mahathir added that the campaign for meritocracy was not a campaign against racism but a movement by racists against racists.

At a separate function last night, the former premier then warned Malays to be united or risk losing political power.

Today, Lim questioned if Dr Mahathir’s remarks signalled that the former prime minister was now ready to openly go against the Najib administration.

“Has Mahathir crossed the Rubicon to declare war on his second successor as prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak after successfully forcing out the his first successor Tun Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi)?” asked Lim.

“Mahathir had already publicly questioned Najib’s 1 Malaysia policy and his utterances yesterday marked a throw-back to the irresponsible and dangerous politics of race and religion,” he added.

Lim said by denouncing meritocracy, Dr Mahathir had declared his rejection to the NEM, which supports market-friendly affirmative action policy based on needs and merit.

DAP Youth chief Loke Siew Fook also expressed similar misgivings, adding that Dr Mahathir was detached from the reality in making what he called “racist remarks.”

“He introduced the concept of Bangsa Malaysia, has he forgotten his own vision?” said Loke.

“I think Dr Mahathir has turned into the biggest threat for Najib’s 1 Malaysia,” said the Rasah MP.

He added that DAP’s support for a meritocratic system was based on the reality of global competition.

“The competition is no longer between the Malays and the non-Malays — but Malaysians against the rest of the world,” said Loke.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub called Dr Mahathir’s remarks an indictment of the latter’s years in power as prime minister.

“I think he wants to remain in control of Malaysian politics, he would do and say anything to ensure that he remains relevant,” said Salahuddin.

“His statement is a reflection of the failure of his 22 years administration. It was during his administration that corruption and abuse of power reached its peak which led to problems inherited by his successors until today,” the Kubang Kerian MP added.