Kit Siang: Malaysia has no time for Tun M who’s engrossed with a long-forgotten past

THE founder of Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did the greatest dis-service to both concepts this week when he questioned the loyalty of the Indian Malaysians and Chinese Malaysians to the country.

Is he suggesting that Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who was in his Cabinet for 22 years during his first premiership was not loyal to Malaysia?

Were Tan Sri Lee San Choon, Tun Ling Liong Sik, Tan Sri Lee Kim Sai, Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh, Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek, Datuk Dr Neo Yee Pan, Tan Sri Chong Hon Nyan, Tan Sri Chong Siang Sun, Datuk Ng Cheng Kiat, Datuk Richard Ho Ung Hun, Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, Datuk Paul Leong, Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui, Tan Sri Stephen Yong and Tan Sri Law Hieng Ding who had served in his Cabinets not loyal to Malaysia?

It also raises the fundamental question whether Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia were the path-breaking initiatives of the Dr Mahathir premierships or whether they were national fraud as the creator was not loyal to these concepts.

During his first 22-year stint which makes him Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister (PM) or his second 22-month spell, Dr Mahathir never questioned the loyalty of the Indian Malaysians and Chinese Malaysians to the country.

In fact, in a speech in 1995, he said: “There was fear among the people that they have to give up their own cultures, values and religions. This could not work; we believe that Bangsa Malaysia is the answer.”

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) and Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang

‘Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia are flawed’

Clearly, Dr Mahathir was offering Malay nationalism and multi-culturalism as the basis of the construction of the Bangsa Malaysia. This was what Dr Mahathir said about ending the policy of assimilation (Time Magazine, 9 December 1996):

Dr Mahathir: The idea before was that people should become 100% Malay in order to be Malaysian. We now accept that this is a multi-racial country. We should build bridges instead of trying to remove completely the barriers separating us. We do not intend to convert all the Chinese to Islam; we tell our people, the Muslims, “you will not try to force people to convert”.

But both concepts of Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia were classic failures for all nine strategic challenges of Vision 2020 failed to materialise, in particular, the first challenge in establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny – a nation at peace with itself, territorially and culturally integrated living in full and fair partnership.

Malaysia has never been so divided as in the recent past where it had five PMs in five years and where the 3R issues of race, religion and royalty were exploited with the help of the lies, falsehoods, fake news and hate speech in the social media to divide instead of uniting Malaysians.

However, another minister during the entire span of the 22 years of the first Mahathir premiership, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, redeemed the situation when she pointed out that Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia encompassed the diverse racial and hereditary origins of all Malaysians and that there was no need for Malaysians to question one another on their loyalty and love for the nation.

For the last five years, there had been minimum talk about Malaysia’s future or the vision for the future.

We need a new vision to unite all Malaysians regardless of race, language, religion or culture, and to ensure that Malaysia can rise up again to reverse the national decline of the past quarter of a century and be a great world-class nation.

Malaysia has no time for Dr Mahathir as he is engrossed with a long-forgotten past. Malaysian must find its destiny in a new common vision for the future. – Jan 19, 2024


Retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang was Malaysia’s longest serving opposition leader of 29 years on three separate occasions.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main pic credit: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Facebook

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE