This was why Mahathirís National Day Message last year had evoked such strong reactions from a wide cross-section of Malaysians, with the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange suffering a hefty tumble on Sept. 1 when the rest of the Asian stock exchange registered sharp rises.
I had then commented that Mahathir had forgotten in his 43rd National Day message that he was not speaking as UMNO President but as Prime Minister of Malaysia, not as the leader for the Malays but the leader for all Malaysians, regardless of race. Mahathir should not mix up these two roles in his National Day Message this year.
Last year, Mahathir had made the completely baseless and unworthy allegations that Malaysian Chinese who supported the Suqiu Election Appeals were like communists and terrorists like Al-Maíunah, when it was the Chinese voters who had been largely responsible for ensuring that the Barisan Nasional was returned to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 1999 general election.
He also made the most offensive and baseless imputations when he said in his National Day message last year:
"Because it seems as if the government headed by the Malays has become weaker, the Chinese extremists who are displeased with the cooperation among the various races in Malaysia are starting to hurt the feelings of the Malays by making all sorts of absurd demands".
This sentence contained three falsehoods, viz:
In his 43rd National Day Message, he said the demands by Suqui were not much different from that made by the communists of yesteryears, and likened it to the Al-Ma'unah, which brutally tortured and murdered two security
personnel after the Grik arms heists in July last year.
Such a statement is unacceptable and unforgivable after the Barisan Nasional had openly endorsed the Suqiu appeals before the 1999 general elections, and when Mahathir himself had recently adopted the Suqiu call for meritocracy to be introduced in the higher education system, especially among the bumiputra students, to ensure excellence and the best brain power to meet the challenges of globalisation and information technology.
Mahathir should have the humility to heal the wounds he had opened up and start a new page in nation-building in multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia by apologising for his divisive and outrageous National Day message last year and withdraw his baseless allegations against the Malaysian Chinese community.