In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini that was published today, 12 September, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad once again shared his divisive views about the Malays and Chinese people
According to the two-time former prime minister of Malaysia, the non-Malays will become the kingmaker in elections if the political divide among Malays is further split by Malay-based parties.
"That is the role that the minority in any constituency can play. So if we split the Malays, whether you like it or not, DAP or MCA will determine who is going to win. Not us," Dr Mahathir told Malaysiakini.
The 95-year-old politician was sharing his thoughts about "not splitting the Malay votes" among a new multiracial political party that his protégé, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, is working to set up and his own Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (PEJUANG) that he formed together with his son, Mukhriz Mahathir, last month.
Dr Mahathir used the 1969 general election as the basis of his reasoning that further division of the Malays in politics will leave the power to determine who wins an election in the hands of other races
"In 1964, I won the election in Kota Setar Selatan by 4,200 votes. This means that I was strong. In the constituency, there were 40,000 voters of which 35,000 of them are Malays. At that time, I was quite popular. That's why I won the 1964 votes — because the Malays supported me," the Malaysiakini interview quoted the nonagenarian as saying.
"In 1969, I expected to win. But because of my promotion of the Malays then, which might be seen as too much, the Chinese were not happy with me that Lee Kuan Yew called me as the 'Malay Ultra'. So, they wanted me to lose at my constituency. Not that they were against the alliance then, just me and maybe a few others too."
According to the PEJUANG chairman, the Chinese took away votes from him by 3,000 and gave it to PAS.
"What happened was they took away the Chinese votes from me by 3,000. Even with 3,000 votes down, I would still have 1,200 more. But the problem was they gave it to PAS, so I lost by 900 votes," he said, adding that this is why he is not fond of the idea of having too many political parties.
He, however, defended his decision to form PEJUANG, claiming that it had become necessary after he was sacked from Bersatu which he formed together with Muhyiddin Yassin in 2016.
The Langkawi Member of Parliament (MP), who has served the country for over two decades as prime minister, argued that the concept of multiracial parties may benefit all the other races, but not the Malays
"When I was a boy, the Chinese, Indians, and Malays were all poor. All of them. The Chinese came here as labourers, the Indians came here as rubber tappers, and the Malays were also poor paddy farmers. Then we made plans to develop the country. And who had improved since? The opportunities were all the same, we even gave some advantages to the Malays but the Malays are not developing well," he said.
According to Dr Mahathir, this is because the Malays don't know how to handle special treatment.
"When we give them contracts to help them become rich, they sell the contracts. The same happened to AP licenses and also land pieces that were given to the Malays to develop. They sold them," he argued.
"So you have to understand the weaknesses of the Malays to handle this problem."
Read the full interview here.
While we are on the topic of race-based politics, the founding father of modern Singapore spoke about how it can destroy society as a whole:
Speaking of which, a total of 4.2 million people in the country aged 21 and above who are eligible to vote have yet to register as voters: