Mahathir, what does citizenship mean to you?

The former PM has trampled on the feelings of the minorities


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The most talked about social media topic lately was about Dr Mahathir Mohamad questioning the loyalty of the ethnic minorities, especially Indian Malaysians.

Joining the avalanche of outrage over his remarks were netizens, MPs and noted civil society leaders. An ex-MP slammed the former PM for his “hate-filled rants”.

People wondered if the ethnic Indians as a whole were being victimised. 

The unity minister rightfully criticised Mahathir over his remarks. Aaron Ago Dagang said that leaders like Mahathir had failed to serve as role models in promoting unity and togetherness.

Shouldn’t Mahathir be spreading messages to strengthen unity?

Shouldn’t his statements that touch on religious and ethnic sensitivities be perceived as inciting anger and hatred? Shouldn’t action be taken against Mahathir? The law should be fair, especially when it will not allow ordinary people who make similar bitter remarks to go free.

Why is Mahathir attacking the very foundations of the unity we have enjoyed under the Federal Constitution? Why is he unable to see that it is the diversity of the people that has strengthened the nation, even during his time at the helm? 

Mahathir’s remarks were made during an interview with Chennai-based Thanthi TV. This means the world gets to hear it too. Doesn’t he care about the consequences? 

These are the questions the public are asking. 

The ethnic Indians here are no less Malaysian. Hence, to call them “immigrants” or “pendatang” today is a wicked injustice. 

How does Mahathir propose to deal with Sabahans and Sarawakians? Must they too dump their rich, indigenous identities and be immersed into his version of ‘Malay-ness’?

READ MORE:  Saifuddin is wrong, the stateless face huge difficulties in applying for citizenship

Mahathir’s perspective that Indians (and other minorities here) must fully assimilate and “become Malay” betrays common sense and sociology. He said that Indian Malaysians “have certain rights, but that they cannot claim that this country belongs (to them)”.

Mahathir should tell us then, what is the meaning of citizenship? Isn’t his stance reflective of a divisive mentality? 

Many agree with the two former DAP MPs who said the former PM should be ashamed of himself.

So, I am asking if Mahathir should apologise to the people. Or should the law be applied to haul him up immediately?

If this had transpired in any other democratic nation, by now there would have been street protests. But many among the minorities are so fearful of the law they would rather express their frustrations, their pain and their disappointment over social media. 

We must end this preoccupation with ‘race’. It is time for us to get back on our feet to rebuild our nation to survive the challenging years ahead.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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22 Jan 2024 10.58am

In his twilight years is he shoring up brownie points for the hereafter? Neither he nor anyone knows as no one has come back to give us a full report. So, he is definitely earning some goodies from whom no one knows. No one from this country asked him for his advice nor sought his opinion knowing fully well his foul mouth will utter. One thing for sure he is seeking repentance for his well earned garbage retort regarding his own race ( as he claims he is but the whole world know he is not). His ancestors would or have ditched him long ago so for being an outcast, so those of us affected should just consider him fit for …

Dato Mukhriez
22 Jan 2024 10.06am

Shouldn’t Mahatir be charged under the 3R act for inciting racial discrimination and disrespect for the Indian,Chinese and amalay community?
Why give him special treatment by not charging him??