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Dr Mahathir’s Recipe For Racial Harmony: From ‘Chin-ese’ to ‘Malay-sian’

Dr Mahathir’s Recipe For Racial Harmony: From ‘Chin-ese’ to ‘Malay-sian’

Dr Mahathir suggested that all ethnic Chinese in Malaysia use Malay as their mother tongue, retain some of the cultures of Baba and Nyonya, and attend national schools.

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Former Malaysian prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has suggested a solution to end racial politics in the country.

He stated that if all ethnic Chinese in Malaysia were to use Malay as their mother tongue, retain some of the ancient cultures of Baba and Nyonya, and attend national schools, they would be in harmony with the Malays and indigenous people.

He believes that the country would have no racial politics if this were to happen.

Tun Mahathir’s Personal Experience With Racial Diversity In School

Dr Mahathir also mentioned that he went to school in Alor Setar, Kedah, in the 1930s, where his classmates were from different races, including Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and Sikhs.

He became good friends with one of the Chinese students, the son of Lee Ewe Boon, the treasurer of the Kedah state government at that time.

Dr Mahathir said that most Chinese were Malay-speaking then, and their way of life had also changed.

Women wore sarongs and kebayas and no longer needed to wrap their feet.

Men no longer needed to wear braids; they were called Baba Nyonya.

The Impact Of Sinicization Of Immigration On Baba Nyonya Culture

He also referred to the Sinicization of immigration in the British colonial period,

When the British colonized Singapore and Penang, the influx of Indian and Chinese immigrants outnumbered the Baba Nyonya, also known as the “Straits Chinese” or “Peranakan” community.

He pointed out that the immigrants were still very Chinese and did not think it was necessary to adopt Baba Nyonya culture.

Dr Mahathir cited Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, the United States and Australia as examples; the local people will only identify with the country they emigrate to.

They would be considered Indonesian, Thai, Filipino, American and Australian, not Indonesian Chinese, Filipino Chinese, Thai Chinese, American Chinese or Australian Chinese.”

READ MORE: TLDR: What Dr Mahathir Really Had To Say About Chopsticks, The Chinese, The Indians & The Malays

Dr Mahathir’s Views On Multi-Ethnicity In Malaysia

Dr Mahathir’s reasons for proposing an end to racial politics in Malaysia are not clear.

However, he has made controversial claims about the country’s benefits of multi-ethnicity and lamented that Malays do not benefit from it.

His charismatic leadership style and the political party’s sovereignty may have allowed him to propose radical solutions.

It is important to note that some political figures have criticized Tun Mahathir’s statements about race and ethnicity.

It is unclear why Tun Mahathir proposed this solution, but it may relate to his views on multi-ethnicity and leadership style.

READ MORE: Tun M Said Multiracialism Is Against Constitution, Legal Experts Disagree

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