Dr M blames press for worsening race relations


By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad blamed press freedom today for poor race relations which, he claimed, had worsened since he stepped down as prime minister in 2003.

He said that this was because press freedom has allowed racial and religious tension to ferment in Malaysia.

“Those days we didn’t talk so much about race, showing disrespect to others. Today we talk about race and religion, putting a wedge between the different races.

“Race relations today are not as good as when ‘a dictator of 22 years’ was leading the country,” the former prime minister told a forum of chief executives today.

Dr Mahathir said that although he is made out to be a “Malay ultra and the Chinese are afraid of me,” he only managed to maintain Barisan Nasional’s (BN) two-thirds of Parliament in 1999 due to Chinese support.

“Chinese support gave me two-thirds majority despite the displeasure of Malays due to the black eye,” he said, referring to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s injury suffered in jail after he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998.