KUALA LUMPUR — Oct. 25, 2019: Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed feels hurt when the gathering of Malays is labelled as being racist while the other ethnic groups can have their gatherings to discuss their affairs.
“It hurts me to think in their own country the indigenous people are not supposed to have their own gatherings without being accused of being racist,” he wrote at his blog http://chedet.cc/ today.
He talks about being very surprised when he was advised not to attend the Malay Dignity Congress (on October 6).
“Obviously they are concerned over their possible loss of dignity, whatever that might mean. As usual there were extreme views, but on the whole they were balanced,” he said of the gathering attended by thousands.
“It cannot be that while other ethnic groups can have their gatherings to discuss their affairs, the Malays cannot, that their gathering is racist.
“And now there is even a demand that the Malay initiator of the gathering should be sacked for attending.”
He said it is a measure of the tolerance of the indigenous people in Malaysia that gatherings which are confined to the different ethnic groups are accepted as normal.
In multiracial Malaysia, ethnicity is recognised as legitimate and proper, and the non-indigenous people are accepted as citizens.
“In fact, one million of the non-indigenous people were given citizenship even though they were not qualified,” and it is common for Malaysian citizens to retain their identification with their countries of origin even after being in the country, and holding its citizenship for three generations.
“They do not want to lose their racial identities. They even manifest this ethnic link through their language, culture, schools and ethnic organisations. They often hold meetings confined to their ethnic group. Sometimes I would be invited to open these meetings and asked to give keynote speeches,“ said Mahathir.
“Other multiracial countries see non-indigenous people identifying themselves with the indigenous citizens almost completely. They adopt the language and culture of the indigenous people and break their link with their countries of origin. They even change their names,” he commented.
Mahathir also talked about the former colonies of European nations that gained independence, where many discriminated against the non-indigenous people, with some having to leave the country, while others were violently attacked.
“Not so in this country,” he said, and added “And now of course I will be labelled a racist for writing this.” — Bernama