Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has come under fire for claiming that UMNO has failed to defend the Malays from the attacks by “extremist” Chinese.
Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) director Lim Teck Ghee accused the 84-year-old politician of making a calculated attempt to instil a sense of insecurity amongst ordinary Malays. “This is a mischievous statement aimed at rallying Malays to the PERKASA and Mahathir cause,”
PERKASA is a right-wing Malay pressure group headed by independent MP Ibrahim Ali, whose aim is to defend the special privileges of the Malays. Critics, however, have panned it as a racist set-up. Mahathir had officiated at its inaugural annual general meeting recently.
Yesterday, the former premier claimed that Malays were forming NGOs like PERKASA because UMNO is unable to protect them from the attacks by the Chinese.
He also claimed that UMNO and Barisan Nasional are in a dilemma, where they risk losing Malay support with their measures to entice the Chinese, “who have clearly rejected BN”.
‘Grandmaster of racial baiting’
Meanwhile, Lim described Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years, as the “grandmaster of the game of racial baiting”.
“We need to respond by giving him a large yawn and advise him not to besmirch his name further,” he said. The CPI director also pointed out that the electorate’s rejection of BN has many causes, and is not solely related to the satisfaction of Chinese demands.
“It is more a result of the numerous scandals and instances of abuse of power by the BN government, many dating from the period of autocratic rule by Mahathir,” he said. Lim added that it is not only the Chinese but also large segments of the Malay and other Malaysian voters who have turned away from BN’s “corrupt and arbitrary” governance.
“Once again, Mahathir is incapable of removing the wooden beam in his own eyes and is hell-bent on fault-finding to suit his own opportunistic ends.He is trying to be the number 1 stumbling block by coming out with statements such as these,” he added.