Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the mall was like a ‘town’ that he toured it in a buggy.
What do you think of when you go to a shopping mall? Some of us curse the parking, some of us make mental notes of what to buy, some of us too-lazy-to-walk bums wonder why the mall needs to be so big.
But we are not Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
For the former prime minister, his recent trip to an unnamed shopping mall resulted in a 44-point, 12-tweet long thread on Twitter which culminated in him pondering the fate of the Malay race.
Yes, he has been pondering quite a bit of late. Sometimes it’s almost difficult to catch up. And he just celebrated his 98th birthday.
So Dr Mahathir starts his thread in a lighthearted manner, speaking of his recent trip to a new shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur which impressed him. If you’re not familiar with the man on Twitter, this would sound like he’s about to review the mall.
And he does, a little bit.
“There are restaurants and supermarkets,” the 98-year-old man said, describing the complex as a “fully air-conditioned town”.
After three tweets of describing this complex which he toured in a buggy because it was “too long to walk”, Dr Mahathir remarked that he was sure the project belonged to a Malaysian Chinese.
Since he did not mention which mall he went to, we are unable to check the ownership of this huge shopping complex he visited.
Anyway, after asserting his belief that the complex belonged to a Malaysian Chinese, Dr Mahathir said he was proud. He remarked that the Malaysian Chinese have good ideas and the money to realise these ideas.
His shopping complex “review” however would not have courted the criticism it did if he had stopped with his expression of pride.
Moving on to the fifth tweet in the thread, Dr Mahathir claimed that much of the development in this country were by the Malaysian Chinese.
“The Malays cannot do it,” he said, adding that they neither had the money nor the ideas.
It deserves a mention that one of the major developers in the country is MK Land, founded by one Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar.
Getting back to Dr Mahathir’s “shopping mall review”, he lamented how the shops belonging to Malays are “the stalls on the roadside, ramshackle affairs, with blue plastic roofs.”
While he is not wrong about these roadside stalls, observation and personal experience show that many races run “ramshackle stalls” in this country. Not everyone can afford a T20 setup. In fact we are known for our street food which are sold in “ramshackle stalls” and some of them have even earned their spot as tourist attractions.
Dr Mahathir however does acknowledge that there are Malays who have done good for themselves, but “there are so few of them”.
To summarise what he appears to be getting at, is that while the Malaysian Chinese were good in business, the Malays dominated the government.
This, to the former prime minister, equals balance.
However, he claimed that today, the Chinese are also politically powerful.
“And they intend to be even more powerful,” he alleged without citing any sources to back this assertion.
Dr Mahathir asked what would the Malays be left with should the Chinese dominate the political arena.
He questioned if it was wrong for the Malays to try to regain a little of their political dominance. He acknowledged that while the Malays were striving for unity, it was not against the Chinese.
Perhaps the shopping complex really was too big and the buggy ride too long, which resulted in overthinking.
As mentioned above, this was a 44-point “review” and if you so wish, you can read the whole thing here.
If you do not have the time, even this article is getting to be a tad too long, Dr Mahathir, in summary, was stressing on the fact that “this had always been a Malay country.”
“The population may be multiracial. But it does not mean that this country has ceased to be a Malay country,” he said.
His “review” ends with him saying big malls are fine, just “don’t deprive the Malays of their country and history.”
So what do you think of this shopping mall “review”? As for me, I’m wondering if the buggy service is available for all, including people too lazy to walk, like me. Oh and also if they have a Rotiboy outlet.