Dr M: Putrajaya need not apologise for Malay agenda
KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reiterated his belief that the government must not be apologetic for its affirmative-action policies to help the Malay community, saying it helped to ensure public security.
“I think affirmative action is relevant. I saw that, for decades, the country has developed more rapidly under the New Economic Policy (NEP) and our performance outpaced other developed nations.
“If this is true then you can look figures of country’s economic performance during the NEP,” the former prime minister said during RTM’s forum on the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) at the Putra World Trade Centre last night.
The ex-premier claimed that the NEP has been fair to all the communities.
“We do not have to be apologetic with the Malay agenda. We just want peace and do not want [the] economic gap to cause racial conflict — especially when the rich is from one race and the poor is from another, [then] the risk of riots is higher.
“We just want a bit of the economic cake so that the Bumiputera can catch up. We want fair, and not equitable, distribution. We are only asking for 30 per cent even though we are 60 per cent [of the population],” Dr Mahathir added.
He also stressed that the Malay agenda was not bigoted and that it was important to allow fair economic distribution.
“The Malay agenda is not racist because we want fair distribution. Special attention is needed to be given to the Malay community because they [are] lagging behind in the economy. So if we give equal treatment to the poor and rich, then how will the poor catch up the rich?” he argued.
Dr Mahathir went on to defend the NEP from criticisms that it had failed to increase Malay equity.
“Our economy is bigger than 1971 when the NEP was introduced. So it might be seen that the Malay equity has declined, but in actuality it didn’t because the equity was not able to keep at pace with the rapid development.
“The economic cake expanded but the equity cake didn’t,” said the country’s longest-serving prime minister, who stepped down in October 2003.
According to him, the NEP should not be blamed for the country’s current economic stagnation.
“I found that several years after I resigned, there were changes made that caused our economy to decline. Our economic decline is due to internal problems but the country leadership at that time did [not] understand and couldn’t solve the problem so many foreign investors deemed our country as economically unhealthy,” he added, in apparent reference to his handpicked successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, with whom he had a falling out.
Dr Mahathir also denied that Barisan Nasional’s (BN) affirmative-action policies had let to its downfall in Election 2008.
“When BN won small in the last general election, many foreign observers said that the people are bored with racial based political parties. But actually they are not bored but disappointed with the leadership that does understand the people’s problem but only prioritised himself and family. So by default, they voted for the opposition to oust the leadership,” he said.
The country’s fourth prime minister also continued his attacks against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s New Economic Model (NEM), which right-wing Malays fear would end their privileges doled out under the NEP, which ostensibly ended in 1990.
“I think the 10MP is better than the New Economic Model because it gave attention to the problems affecting the Bumiputera. Many were not satisfied with NEM. The 10MP brings us to the core problem, and that is the distribution of wealth,” he stressed.
He also called on the Malay community to remain united or risk becoming a minority power in the country.
“We must not underestimate the minority because they know how to act simultaneously. In America, the Jews are only 10 million but they can still determine who can be the next president,” he said, picking on his favourite theme of Jewish domination.[Malaysian Insider]