THIS is one of the rare occasions in recent times whereby I agree with twice former prime minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who stated yesterday (Dec 17) that Malaysia will only have a non-Malay PM when the Malays who make up the majority of the population are ready to accept one.
I had said that I do not expect a non-Malay – whether a Chinese or Indian – to become PM for the next 100 years, expressing the hope that it would not take 230 years like the US for a Black American Barack Obama to be president. Maybe, this may even never happen at all.
But would it take 100 years before a Dayak or Kadazan to become the PM of Malaysia?
I agree with what Dr Mahathir said yesterday (Dec 18) although I disagree with what he said on the subject in March this year when he was reported to have said that “Malaysia’s indigenous Malays are losing political influence” and that the country may have a non-Malay PM “when the next election comes around”.
But he had said in March this year: “There is no guarantee that the PM will be a Malay as anyone can be the PM. Even now, the Malay parties in the government are not in power and they are divided into three parties.
“I am sure that if we’re not careful, the next election will come and if the votes get bought off, we’ll elect people who are not good and they will mortgage our country.”
It is most unfortunate that an explanation of the constitutional provision of the PM in my remarks to Malaysian students in Manchester last month was exploited by irresponsible elements to intensify a sense of fear and insecurity of the Malays about the future.
Coupled with an unscrupulous and unprincipled use of lies, falsehoods, fake news and hate speech in the era of social media, such undesirable action has made Malays feel that a non-Malay PM was imminent.
As Dr Mahathir was the victim of such unscrupulous and unprincipled dirty politics when he was the PM a second time, it is shocking that he should give his blessing to such unscrupulous and unprincipled politics now.
It is significant that recent politics have been marked by thunderous silences – the thunderous silence of (Bersatu president) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin whether Dr Mahathir was subservient to DAP when he was PM the second time as to justify the Sheraton Move political conspiracy which toppled the second Mahathir premiership.
Or the thunderous silence of (PAS president) Tan Sri Hadi Awang to substantiate his wild and preposterous allegations that DAP and I were anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-royalty, communist and spreading Islamophobia.
Despite extremist and perverted attacks, I am convinced that Malaysia can only rise up again to become a great world-class nation and be a role model of the world in inter-ethnic, inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-civilisation dialogue, understanding, tolerance and harmony if all Malaysians dream the Malaysian Dream. – Dec 19, 2023
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.