AN MCA leader has slammed former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad for attempting to stir up a hornet’s nest by falsely claiming that Indians and Chinese are not “completely loyal” to Malaysia and should assimilate into Malay practices.
MCA vice president Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said not only do most ethnic groups in Malaysia speak their mother tongue fluently but proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia and English is also common, and the nation’s multi-stream education is proof of the multi-lingual ability of Malaysians.
“Dr Mahathir’s racial theories about assimilation are nothing new, other than to divert attention from issues plaguing either himself or his children,” Tan remarked in a statement on Monday (Jan 15).
“Paying attention to his racially-prejudiced sputter is to fall into his trap while the more serious issues at hand will be forgotten.”
Tan was responding to Dr Mahathir’s statement during a recent interview with a Chennai-based Indian satellite television channel, Thanthi TV where the 98-year-old politician said Malaysian Indians and Chinese are not completely loyal to the country as they still want to identify themselves with their respective countries of origin.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysian Indians do not speak Malay and they speak Tamil instead, adding that one should identify as Malay to have the right to call the country their own.
The two-time former premier also agreed that non-Malays should fully assimilate and “become Malay”.
On this matter, Tan said having been premier twice, Dr Mahathir should be proud that the diverse racial communities in the country co-exist in harmony.
“Rather than repeatedly spouting comments that undermine race-relations, the former statesman ought to promote the richness and assets of Malaysia’s multiracial and multicultural communities,” he pointed out.
Tan said this approach would enable countries around the world, especially those which are divided by ethnic or religious sectarianism or civil strife to take a cue from Malaysia and emulate the nation.
“Within our own tanahair, this approach would build mutual goodwill and trust among Malaysia’s ethnic-diverse citizens,” he elaborated, adding that the combined efforts by all citizens are crucial to safeguard and defend the nation’s moderation and diversity.
“These national achievements will serve to silence Dr Mahathir, and others of the same ilk who are only bent on destroying racial harmony.
“Having to constantly repudiate the polarising remarks by Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister is too energy-absorbing.
“In contrast, focus on fixing the economy and solving the rakyat’s cost of living woes like tackling inflation, food security or enabling affordable home ownership should be the priority.” – Jan 15, 2024
Main pic credit: Bernama