The Malays are weak, says Dr. Mahathir.

January 10, 2017

The Malays are weak, says Dr. Mahathir. That’s rather bizarre logic

by S. Thayaparan@www.malaysiakini

“I’m a realist, I do what I can do, if I can’t do, I don’t.”

De facto Opposition Leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad

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What if I said that Malays have a lazy, rent-seeking culture, relying on political and social influence to gain wealth and unable to retain power despite all their special privileges? Would this be wrong? Would this be racist? Would this be seditious?

How about if former Prime Minister and now de facto Oopposition Leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this? Would it still be “racist”? Would this be considered some sort of truth telling? Would it make a difference when he said this last week or when he was Prime Mminister of this country?

More than a decade ago, in an UMNO General Assembly speech (which also coincided with a celebration of sorts – 21 years in office), Dr.Mahathir as UMNO President engaged in some “realist” assessment of the Malay community he had led for over two decades.

As reported by Malaysiakini, he claimed – “If today they (Malays) are colonised, there is no guarantee they will have the capacity to oppose the colonialists.” The former Premier said Malays had failed because they were lazy and sought the easy way out by reselling their shares, licences and contracts to non-Malays.

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“They cannot be patient, cannot wait a little, they want to be rich this very moment… no work is done other than to be close to people with influence and authority in order to get something. After selling and getting the cash, they come back to ask for more”,he said.

Therefore, there is a rather bizarre logic in his thinking when he said that he had no regrets about stifling dissent in young Malay people during his tenure. Bizarre because the former Prime Minister has never been afraid of using the stereotype of the Malay community as a means of galvanising support.

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And this extends to the other communities as well. Well by “others”, I really mean the Chinese community because as we all know the Indian community is absent from the discourse. In the same speech at the 2002 UMNO General Assembly, he also referenced the Chinese community – the very community that UMNO has always demonised as a threat to Malay hegemony but in reality, meant they were perceived as a threat against UMNO hegemony.

He said, “If we take out the Chinese and all that they have built and own, there will be no small or big towns in Malaysia, there will be no business and industry, there will be no funds for the subsidies, support and facilities for the Malays. Learn from the Chinese.”

Only Mahathir could balance such contradictions, playing the racial card against communities, including the one UMNO claims to represent. Which is why in Mahathir’s thinking there is really no reason why he should not be standing shoulder to shoulder with his former opponents in an attempt to bring down the Najib Abdul Razak regime.

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This is  truly bizzare

He really does not care what political pundits, who seek to remind people of what he did during his tenure, say because he knows that he then enjoyed the support of the majority of Malaysians and he did this using the kind of realpolitik that oppositional parties during his regime did not grasp or were uninterested in learning.

While some opposition supporters blather on about “truth and conscience” but offer no real evidence that these form the desideratum for oppositional forces in this country, the former prime minister has no problem twisting the facts on the ground or contorting social and economic realities to fit his narratives.

A clear example of this would be when in an interview, he acknowledged that discrimination was part of the system but that there were communities who thrived in spite of it – “The Chinese in Malaysia have no special rights, they experience discrimination. But they are more successful than us.”

This is exactly the system a Gerakan political operative was talking about when he mocked the opposition for subscribing to the same system as BN. And the same kind of thinking that for years sustained BN which led to the creation of the leviathan which in the Najib regime. We get the world we deserve.

Slaying sacred cows

And keep in mind that during Mahathir’s tenure, UMNO defined oppositional racial preoccupations because the slaying of UMNO sacred cows were the very definition (and still is) of any kind of egalitarian agenda that would truly “save Malaysia”. All those other so-called racial preoccupations, religious, social and economic are a direct result of the UMNO agenda and the mendacious ‘social contract’.

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Not True, Mahathir forgets easily

However, since the short-term goal of saving Malaysia means removing Najib, the real power brokers, those invested in the system – and they are not only Malays – would like to keep the gravy train moving, only with a different railroad engineer.

Unlike some oppositional voices who pontificate about “principles” or at least attempt to control the discourse, demonising those who dredge up so-called ancient history and engaging in victimhood to facilitate political expediency, the former prime minister is clear about the purpose of his alliance with the oppositional forces in this country.

As he told me when I brought up the trust deficit when it comes to opposition supporters and his new role as oppositional leader – “If Najib is there, the opposition will suffer. If Najib is there, even UMNO will suffer, the whole country will suffer. I think the opposition is not supporting me, they are interested in removing Najib. I have the same interest. It is okay to work together – only on that issue, not on other issues.”

Furthermore, he has had no problems claiming that he would slay Malay sacred cows for the benefit of the community – “I cannot predict how much longer this (affirmative action) will go on but at the moment, we are trying out… some kind of experiment… by withdrawing some of the protection in education,” he said. “We want to see whether they will be able to withstand the competition or not. Obviously if they prove themselves able to, we can think of reducing further some of the protection.”

This was always the stick component of the carrot-and-stick approach, and the former Prime Minster knew very well that affirmative action programmes had a deleterious effect on the Malay community.

Moreover, when he hinted that he would slay sacred cows, he was greeted with rapturous applause as some sort of truth sayer by the very same Umno who now endorse the Najib regime’s attempt to further consolidate power and engage with Mahathir’s sworn enemy, PAS.

But of course, now that the Malay community is fractured and the Malay opposition needs to reassure the Malay community, all those special privileges, all those affirmative action programmes, everything that the former prime minister said was holding back the Malay community, are off the table.

The only thing that discerning Malaysians have to take away from any of this is that Mahathir acknowledges that he failed to change the Malay community – “What else (can I do) … I have tried to be an example, tried to teach, scolded, cried and even prayed. (But) I have failed. I have failed to achieve the most important thing – how to change the Malays.”

When asked if there was anything he would do differently, he claimed that he wanted to be a “normal” UMNO member because he could not do anything for the Malays. Well, he is not even a member now and he is the power behind a nascent Malay power structure.

The big question is, will he fail again. More importantly, is changing the Malays really the agenda of the game for him or anyone else.

13 thoughts on “The Malays are weak, says Dr. Mahathir.

  1. January 10, 2017 The Malays are weak, says Dr. Mahathir.

    The continued ‘SUBSIDIES’ and ‘HANDOUTS’ will probably ensure that they may remain weak for ever and may never achieve BERDIKARI status.
    My sympathies as it may have been objective of the leadership for past three plus decades.

  2. In this past US election, I realized Trump did not make us Americans. Quite a few of us are actually Trump, or wished we could be Trump.
    Perhaps, the same could be said of Tun Mahathir. As I say layu-layu Melayu, I too layu. But, the change do can take place this generation.

  3. He knows. He created them, for votes. Thank goodness he failed. There are still plenty of strong smart and productive Malays around. I still believe UMNO will save Malaysia – not the United Malays National Organization, but the United Malaysians National Organization.

  4. There may YET be strength in people who are deemed ‘ weak ‘ , IF ONLY THEY KNEW HOW – And, there may be weaknesses , who deem themselves ‘ strong ‘ by wielding and ABUSING ‘ powers ‘ , to enrich themselves at the expense of others…. ?

    • Hardworking, productive Malays do not need UMNO.

      As many hardworking productive ones realize that they may not be able to make any significant changes to the current mind set it is possible that many may have been migrating.
      Many of the Chinese and Indians and others may have done this in the past when they realized that they could not make any changes to improve the system majority of them migrated to other countries including Malaya/Singapore/Hong Kong in the past but to-day’s generation has been migrating to developed countries like USA-Aust-NZ-Canada as the favorites.
      At some time or another in the past EVERY COUNTRY HAS BEEN POPULATED BY FOREIGN IMMIGRANTS and after a few generations call the new country their own and those born there as their homeland. But in some cases the leaderships deny this to others.
      THIS IS THE ORDER OF THE WORLD. Learning to adjust is the best option.

  5. It’s been six months since Sg. Besar and KK by election. Since then, poll shows that Najib’s UMNO numbers have been steadily declining, BUT Hadi’s PAS numbers have only moved a small amount.

    Fact is if Hadi’s PAS numbers can be brought down significantly, UMNO numbers would fall like a rock.

    It’s not weakness, it’s dysfunctionality. It’s irrationality which is all too human.

  6. The fact is ,
    the majority of the non- Malays are genuinely MORE CONCERNED with the plight and wealthfare of the Malays than the Malay leaders (unfortunately, the Umnob leaders) who are the real Colonialisers, NOT just materialistically, but mind, body and soul.

    But they ( non-Malays) had done and sacrificed all they could

    So, I have concluded, the Malays, especially those from the heartland and semi-rural, have to fight their own battle to CHANGE for BETTER , whether the in 14GE or otherwise.

  7. The Chinese have the money, the Indians the mouth (gift of the gab) and the Malays don’t have both. But they carry charity in their heart. That is how they allowed the British to dominate them, the Chinese to dominate the economy and the Indians to (partly) to dominate the professions.

    Actually the Chinese and Indians are more cleverer than their priests generally. Sometimes they tell them to cut short the rituals to fit the time and just go through the motions without getting too doctrinaire and preachy.

    The Malays will never do that. They will not openly censure ulamas who pass ridiculous fatwas. They bow to authority and leaders even if the latter are crooked and utterly corrupt. The ulamas are under the payroll of the state. Sometimes one can come across cases where a new initiative on an Islamic matter draws criticism from learned scholars and even from public. But the ulamas can justify and rationalise it by giving their own interpretation of Islamic law and the Quran to support the authority.

    The ulamas are century old creations. People were illiterate and uneducated then. Hence the ulamas who were learned and well versed in Quran were given the role of teaching Islam to common folks. The world has advanced and changed beyond recognition with modern education and new technologies setting the pace. A serious minded person today has many options and means to acquire deeper knowledge of Islam through wide reading, research and self-analysis. For such a person, there is little an Imam can teach.

    The future will rest with such learned Malays living by true Islamic values whilst accommodating and respecting the cultures and faiths of fellow Malaysians. When this group grows to become a dominant Malay force, Malaysia will see a brighter, prosperous and harmonious future.

  8. A black person may call another black individual a nigger but he wont tolerate it when the same word is uttered by a white.

  9. Govt. policies take years and decades to see its impact.

    If this guy has done the right thing in his 22 years rule, eg. ‘ amanah, bersih and cekap ‘, the country would not be in such a mess today.

    When you have losers joining politics to abuse their position and power, the country and its hardworking and decent ordinary people will continue to suffer.

    The decades of narrow, shallow and damaging Malay/muslim’s political of race and religion by some of their ‘ leaders ‘ had destroyed the country……….some Malay/Muslim extremists are waiting for the opportunity to cause trouble.

    • The future will rest with such learned Malays living by true Islamic values whilst accommodating and respecting the cultures and faiths of fellow Malaysians. When this group grows to become a dominant Malay force, Malaysia will see a brighter, prosperous and harmonious future.

      This may have been the vision of Dr M when he gave a 20 years time period may have been later extended by his successor and again some other date in future but this time there is no target date.
      Could this be due to the assumption that this may never happen in the foreseeable future or even in a century as the possibility of ‘such learned Malays living by true Islamic values’ may not ‘become a dominant Malay force [which may enable] Malaysia will see a brighter, prosperous and harmonious future as many may be migrating to other countries and thereby leaving a vacuum which may be able to be filled?
      While migration to other countries of Malaysian Chinese/Indians is evident from the falling number of local citizens, similar information of talented Malays migrating is not readily available.

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