Our country still not truly united: Mahathir

14 Jan 2019 / 10:59 H.

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has not truly achieved unity among races despite having been independent for over six decades and not experiencing racial riots, apart from the isolated event in 1969, claims Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said he noted that there were still issues of splitting among races (perpisahan kaum) in the country and that this was holding the country back from being a more developed nation.

“Our country is a multi-racial one, but I find that at this time, our races are still not as united as we had hoped for when we achieved independence,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly, here, yesterday.

“Although Malaysians have practised and maintained their respective cultures and languages, able to live together and there are no riots, the fact is there is still racial split, and this is neither good nor safe for us.

“We need all races to unite so that wherever we go, we can find all of us living, working and playing together. If we can achieve that, I’m confident our country will be more developed,” he added.

However, Mahathir said unlike many other countries with multi-racial communities, Malaysia was fortunate that the country did not have to resort to violence to achieve independence in 1957.

He said as a result of this, Malaysia has had leaders who were experienced in administering the country, having worked under and together with the British prior to independence.

“We must be thankful for this because usually countries that go through wars and riots to achieve independence, the leaders will think they earn being the government, although they are not trained in administration.

“And because of this, we see these countries not being ruled well. In fact, they end up ruled with an iron fist,” he said, citing Tanzania and Myanmar as examples of countries which went through autocratic rule, and then witnessed racial tension following democracy.

Mahathir said this was however was not a problem in Malaysia as the government allows for all races to be treated equally, granting nationalities to them.

“Apart from that, the efforts taken by all stakeholders, including political parties and leaders, will ensure that the nation is well administered, with the involvement of all races.

“And this is the situation here. It started when we gained independence, when our leaders from different races then agreed not to fight one another and to build a government that represents all Malaysians,” he said.

Mahathir said as such, it was pertinent for all, including politicians, to study the country’s history to ensure it continues to prosper, all races are able to live together and that the fruits of the economic growth is enjoyed by everyone.

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