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Dr Mahathir Grilled By India’s TV Host, Insists Country Only Belongs To Those Who Founded It

Dr Mahathir Grilled By India’s TV Host, Insists Country Only Belongs To Those Who Founded It

In an interview with Thanthi TV, Mahathir caused controversy when he said Chinese and Indians cannot claim that Malaysia belong to them.

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Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent interview with Indian satellite TV channel Thanthi TV has stoked controversy again when he claimed Malaysian Indians and Chinese are not completely loyal to the country.

His reasoning for this is that some Indians and Chinese here still identify themselves with their countries of origin.

During the interview, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia belongs to the people who founded Malaysia. Dr Mahathir believes that all races should identify as Malays, calling for total assimilation with the indigenous culture (Malay, not Orang Asli) of the land.

He expects Chinese and Indians to speak the national language, Bahasa Melayu, at home instead of their mother tongue.

Some Chinese and Indians here don’t speak the local language at all. They have their own school, language, and culture.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

When asked about his Indian origins, Dr Mahathir said he’s not a migrant because he has fully accepted that the country belonged to the Malays and has accepted Malay as his language and culture. He said he knows nothing about his Indian culture and language and as such, he is 100% Malay.

He also said if the Chinese and Indians want to be considered Malaysians, they must remember they are Malaysians more than immigrants from other countries.

When asked what does he expect from non-Malays and whether they should become Malays, Dr Mahathir said “Yea they they should become…” before trailing off and citing a claim that there were other races in the past “who are now Malays”.

He claimed that these people, among them Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, and Africans moved to Malaysia and have identified as Malays and adopted the Malay culture. He added that this group also spoke the local language as their first language at home.

When the interviewer pointed out that his beliefs go against the Constitution, Dr Mahathir said the Constitution said the non-Malays have “certain rights but they cannot claim the country belongs to them.”

The reactions to Dr Mahathir’s interview

It’s not the first time Dr Mahathir stoked the fires regarding the different races in Malaysia. As always, his comments garnered its fair share of criticisms.

Former Klang MP Charles Santiago said Dr Mahathir should be ashamed of his divisive remarks that could potentially harm the multiracial society in Malaysia.

He said the Indians and Chinese have contributed to the socioeconomic and political development of the country.

Santiago questioned whether Dr Mahathir was desperately trying to stay relevant in his twilight years.

He reiterated that Malaysia doesn’t only belong to a select few but to all Malaysians. Santiago said Dr Mahathir’s comments in the interview have undone whatever little good he has done for Malaysia.

Netizens also asked why Dr Mahathir had not been called in for inciting racial tension. Meanwhile, another netizen called for compassion for Dr Mahathir as it seemed like he “no longer has full access to his faculties” due to his age.

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