DAP attacks Mahathir for insulting the non-Malays

(Malaysiakini) – Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on how the Malays were forced to accept orang asing (foreigners) during British rule in exchange for independence is downright insulting and unbecoming of a prime minister who represents all Malaysians, said DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh.

He was referring to Mahathir’s speech at yesterday’s Malay Dignity Congress, where the prime minister said: “.. Orang asing berasa selesa dengan negara kita dan mereka ingin tinggal di sini. Nak tak nak pun, kita terpaksa terima, kalau tidak kita tidak akan mencapai kemerdekaan (The foreigners felt comfortable in this country and wanted to stay. Like it or not, we were forced to accept or we would not have achieved independence).”

Describing the remarks as uncalled for, Ramkarpal said Mahathir should have known better.

“The PM should know that such remarks are highly sensitive and threatens racial harmony in the country and can lead to a divided nation along racial lines which must be avoided at all costs,” he added.

The Bukit Gelugor MP also noted how Mahathir claimed he did not hear the organiser of the congress Zainal Kling’s statement that “Malaysia belonged to the Malays” when opening the congress.

He said the prime minister should have corrected the academic and if it is true that he did not hear the remark, then he should set the record straight now.

Ramkarpal reminded Mahathir that he won the last general election largely because of the support of non- Malays.

“That support was to see reforms for the betterment of this country and to move it forward, not to see the country becoming divided along racial lines.

“I call on the PM to take the lead in narrowing the gap between the races in the country and dispelling the false notion that the Malays are under threat.

“Reprimanding Zainal for his insensitive remarks would be a good start and I urge the PM to do so forthwith,” he added in a statement this afternoon.

Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar also censured Mahathir over the “orang asing” remark, saying the premier appeared to be giving the green light to others to make similar statements.

He pointed out that despite the premier claiming the congress was not racist, Tamil dailies had reported that among the resolutions presented were the closure of vernacular schools and that top government positions be reserved for Malays.

“But the said speaker (who raised this issues) would not be jailed under the Sedition Act as Umno jailed me…nor will Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador arrest anyone under Section 504 of the Penal Code and the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia (MCMC) Act for hate speech under Mahathir’s pseudo rule of law,” he added in a statement.