Dr Mahathir: I’m not racist, I call it as I see it
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Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shared a series of tweets online slamming Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy for criticising him over the use of the word “foreigners”, however, netizens are not happy.
In a Twitter thread, the twice ex-PM wrote that Ramasamy was annoyed that he (Mahathir) still distinguished the descendants of migrants from China and India as ‘orang asing’ or people of foreign origins.
It is not me, but they themselves who wish to identify themselves as of foreign origin. It is they who identify themselves as Malaysian Chinese or Malaysian Indians. Malays identify themselves with this country, Malaysia, in being Malaysian.Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
He continued to say that while his ancestors originated from India, he however, does not call himself a Malaysian Indian.
I am a Malay in the sense that my home language is Malay and my culture is Malay. The constitution says that a Malay is a person who habitually speaks Malay and practises the Malay ‘adat’ (customs) and is a Muslim.Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Further defending his views, Mahathir said it was not racist for a Malay to speak about his own race.
When Malays speak about Malays, they are not being racist. They are the nationals of this country. Anywhere in the world, when nationals speak about themselves, they are not being racist. The British people talk about their problems and are not accused of being racist.Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Additionally, he also wrote at length about vernacular schools and about the medium of teaching, claiming that some quarters rejected the idea of putting vernacular and national schools on the same campus and made comparisons with other countries and highlighted the cultural backgrounds of some world leaders.
As expected, his tweets received flak from netizens of all backgrounds, with many calling him racist and asking him to stop tweeting.
Twitter user @DiyaSeesGhosts said:
By your logic, anyone can be a “malay” because it was listed in the constitution. Fine. Sure. But will you give them the same privileges malays have then? You said a few characteristics of a true Malaysian, what about orang asli and Sarawak/sabahans? Are they not Malaysians?@DiyaSeesGhosts via Twitter
Moreover, she said while it is expected of the non-Malays to call themselves Malaysians, they are still treated as third class citizens.
From the name calling to unfair treatment to racist threads like this is CONSTANTLY being made. So tell me, would you still call yourself a Malaysian if you’re not treated like one?.@DiyaSeesGhosts via Twitter
Also sharing his views was co-founder of youth group Undi18, Tharma Pillai who tweeted:
Almost 100 years of being alive and this man still remains insecure about his race. Decades of terpaling Melayu politics, just to cover his insecurity. Could have just gone for therapy instead of ruining the country.Co-founder of youth group Undi18 Tharma Pillai
Twitter user @RnaudBertrand added that he personally believes that what annoys Mahathir most is what he finds most attractive and unique about Malaysia, which is its multiculturalism.
Personally what annoys him is what I find most attractive and unique about Malaysia: its multiculturalism. Few countries in the world – especially in Asia! – have this great mix of cultures without forcing assimilation. Not enforcing a national identity is Malaysia’s identity!@RnaudBertrand via Twitter
If you’ve come across the former Prime Minister’s tweets, what are your thoughts on what he’s said?