14 November 2023
Press statement by MCA Vice President Datuk Tan Teik Cheng
Malaysia’s success rests on integration not assimilation; Retiring gracefully the best medicine for Dr M
In a podcast episode on “Keluar Sekejap”, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s provocative incoherence continues when he alleged that Chinese and Indian immigrants in the past refused to assimilate to Malay culture, even looking down on Malays. In the past, Dr Mahathir had even ranted that Malays in the country “did not benefit” from the multi-ethnic fabric of the country.
If Dr Mahathir had leveraged on his past leadership of modernising Malaysia, he would leave behind a lasting positive legacy. Moderate and progressive Malaysians are disinclined towards a gas-lighting politician from a bygone era whose persistence of divisiveness and paying up racial sentiments serve no meaningful purpose for our nation and multicultural society, other than destruction.
Since our nation achieved Independence, the Alliance, Barisan Nasional and successive governments until today’s Unity Government have stuck to the policy of diversity and integration, rather than assimilation, as these are the keys to Malaysia’s success. Is Dr Mahathir, who twice served as our country’s premier, aware of this, or has he conveniently “muda lupa”? It is unfathomable as to why Dr Mahathir continues to distort facts with malice.
Every ethnic group in the world tends to retain one’s tradition and culture. Such identification is unrelated with condescending another culture. Dr Mahathir’s comments are undoubtedly racially inflammatory and ignore our ancestors’ common struggle for Independence and formulating a Constitution intended to protect our citizen’s diversity.
Khairy Jamaluddin’s interjection, stressing that Malaysia’s model of integration amongst citizens is more preferred compared to the assimilation in Indonesia and Thailand is reasonable and meaningful. Malaysians should thus endeavour to safeguard and defend our nation’s moderation and spirit of diversity to ensure that that peace, progress and development prevail.
As a nonagenarian, Dr Mahathir should give up babbling about racial issues and politics. Blessed with a wealth of experience, projecting inclusive and constructive ideas will assist the country to overcome the economic downturn and inflation. As an elder statesman, he will leave a lasting positive legacy by encouraging Malaysians to build on mutual goodwill, avoid conflicts and standing on common ground with the average person on the street struggling to pay one’s bills.