Mahathir has insulted all Malaysians with his Cairo explanation of his speech at the MCA General Assembly that a non-Malay can become Prime Minister in future

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said at the MCA General Assembly last Saturday that he was confident that a non-Malay can one day be the Prime Minister of Malaysia, there were glowing tributes in the English-language mainstream media that "Dr. Mahathir has transcended the norms and hearts of ordinary men", "the flowering of a statesman and the emergence of a stature that is the essence required in a pluralistic society to unite the people for the common good of the nation as a whole" and that his speech was fully in line with Vision 2020 and the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.

Malaysian Youth Council president Saifuddin Abdullah said Mahathirís statement reflected his confidence in the growing maturity of the rakyat in accepting changes based on democratic practices.

Gerakan was so excited that one of its top leaders suggested yesterday that the Barisan Nasional form a single party to eventually replace all its component parties.

However, the Bahasa Malaysia mainstream media and UMNO leaders sent out a completely different and contradictory  message, stressing that Mahathirís statement was part of the traditional UMNO politics of fear and blackmail to try to restore Malay support.

Newly re-elected UMNO Vice President Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib said Mahathirís speech was a "warning" to the Malays to stay united behind UMNO.

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi was right when he commented that Mahathir was merely stating a fact when  he said that a person of any ethnic origin, including a non-Malay, could become Prime Minister as the Malaysian Constitution does not impose any ethnic or religious prohibition for the office.

But Mahathirís speech  would have been a most irresponsible act if was intended to be part of a "politics of fear and blackmail" to stampede the Malay voters to restore their support for UMNO as interpreted by some UMNO leaders like Mohamad Taib.

From his Cairo speech as reported in todayís press, it is now confirmed that UMNO leaders like Mohamad Taib was right, that Mahathirís statement at the MCA General Assembly was designed primarily to arouse the fears of insecurity of Malays to drive them back into the UMNO fold.

The Star today, on his talk to some 500 Malaysians studying  in Egypt, under the heading "Dr M: Assert supremacy - 'It's the only way Malays can keep post of PM'", reported:

I take the strongest exception to Mahathirís Cairo explanation for his speech at the MCA General Assembly that a non-Malay can become Prime Minister of Malaysia in future.

Although the Malaysian Constitution provides that any Malaysian, regardless of race or religion, could become Prime Minister, I do not see a non-Malay becoming a Prime Minister during my life-time.

However, while accepting this political reality, non-Malays must feel very disappointed and hurt that the discussion of a hypothetical possibility of a non-Malay becoming a Prime Minister should be framed in the context of the non-Malays "corrupting" the Malays casting aspersions on the integrity, honour and dignity of both  the Malay and non-Malay races if they do not continue to support UMNO and Barisan Nasional.

It is also most unworthy on Mahathirís part to imply that if the Malays stop supporting UMNO, they will become "slaves in their own country" with  the serious and spurious insinuation that the non-Malays would become the "slave-masters".

These sentiments go  against everything noble contained in Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia.
Mahathir has insulted both Malays and non-Malays with his Cairo explanation of his speech at the MCA General Assembly that a non-Malay can become Prime Minister in future and he should unconditionally and unreservedly retract what he had said in Cairo and apologise for his unworthy imputations of both Malays and non-Malays which might have done irreparable harm to Vision 2020 and the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman