Jun 14, 2010

Tun Mahathir claims Malays could become like ‘Singapore Malays'

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the Malays were in crisis and risked becoming marginalised like “Singapore Malays” because of political divisions.

He told a rally of Malay NGOs here today that Malays could end up as a minority in their own country.

According to the ex-premier, the community had become divided by political parties selling them out for power.

He then blamed PAS and PKR, instead of Umno, for the predicament he claimed Malays were now in.

“The Malays make up 60 per cent of the population. However, the percentage of Malay voters are smaller today because 20 per cent each is given to the three [Malay] political parties, including Umno.

“And they will fight each other, [and this will cause] the community to become a minority. They (PKR and PAS) only want to grab power. Their priority is not race and religion but power.

“They are willing to do anything to become prime minister,” he claimed when addressing Gertak’s rally at the state’s indoor stadium here.

Fewer than a thousand people were present at The Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat’s (People’s Awareness Movement) “Melayu Bangkit” rally here. The organisers had expected a turnout of more than five thousand.

Gertak means “to intimidate” or “to bully” in Bahasa Malaysia, but organisers have denied that today’s rally was meant to intimidate non-Malays.

Dr Mahathir said that community was in crisis and must act before it shares the same fate as its southern neighbours.

“If we do not think deeply about the future of our community then there is a possibility that we can become [like] the Singaporean Malays and have no power.

“We would have to bow down when facing other races. It’s not that we want other races to bow down to us but we want fair distribution of economic and political power,” he said.

The Gertak movement was founded earlier this year, shortly after the controversial “Allah” judgment.

In a landmark ruling on Dec 31 last year, the Catholic Church won the right to use the word “Allah” to also refer to God outside of Islam, shattering a long-held view among many Malaysian Muslims who considered that the word was reserved for their community.

The movement’s purpose was to unite the Malay community, which today is split over issues of religion and race, Gertak chief Razali Idris said.

An initial rally scheduled for May 13 had been cancelled after authorities stepped in out of concern the event may trigger memories of the racial bloodbath from 41 years ago and reignite tensions between Malaysia’s diverse ethnic groups.

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