PETALING JAYA: Other races are more likely to overcome poverty than the Malays, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former premier said Malays need welfare and supportive policies from the government.
Dr Mahathir said in his 70 years as a politician, he has witnessed how there were certain races that became richer over time, adding that others remained in poverty.
“The foreigners who came to Malaysia started working as labourers but now their children and grandchildren have become rich.
“This means they are able to improve themselves while the Malays are not so skilled in the business sector. Because of that, they (Malays) could not enrich themselves and that is why we need a government which has a strong Malay element to defend the positions of the Malays.”
Dr Mahathir was speaking during the “Bersatu blackout” nationwide campaign in Alor Setar, Kedah on Saturday (June 18) night against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s leadership.
The Bersatu blackout campaign features a white hibiscus logo with a black background as a sign of protest against Muhyiddin’s leadership.
The ceramah in Kedah was the second state in the nationwide tour, following Johor which took place several weeks ago.
During Dr Mahathir’s speech, the nonagenarian said the government had come up with several policies to ensure that the nation’s wealth is distributed evenly and fairly to address the unequal distribution of wealth among races.
“But when we try to help the Malays, there are those who said the impoverished are not only the Malays, but that the Chinese and Indians are also poor, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir claimed that with the leadership of a kleptocratic government, the Malays are no longer protected and their opportunities are diminished.
“Because Malays are poor, they won't be able to live in cities because in cities, the cost of living is high and they can’t afford it.
“Some of them have land in the city; someone rich would offer to buy their land and the Malays would sell it, which would lead them to moving from the city to the rural areas, ” he said.
“The same is happening here in Alor Setar, where they sold land and moved away from the town. If this isn’t addressed, then the Malays will end up living at the edges of the jungle, ” he added.
“God-willing, if we have a strong spirit where we are not easily tempted by money, we will have the strength to take back the party that we formed in order to destroy kleptocracy, ” said Dr Mahathir.
The Bersatu blackout campaign was a closed-door event, but it was published on Facebook Live.
According to Bersatu supreme council member Ulya Husamudin, the nationwide campaign started in Johor with Kedah being the second state it toured.
“We will head to other states such as Perak, Melaka, and Negeri Sembilan.”
Ulya, who said he was dropped as the Bersatu Youth Information chief two weeks ago, said the purpose of the movement is to show that there are members within Bersatu who disagreed with the direction of the party over the past few months, especially the removal of Dr Mahathir as party chairman.
Bersatu is currently embroiled in a civil war after five MPs including Dr Mahathir were axed from the party by Muhyiddin for sitting with the Opposition bloc in Parliament.
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