The former premier said this is because the Malays are no longer the kingmakers and are now reduced to being 'beggars' in their own land.
KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called the Najib administration “weak” and said it will not entertain the concerns of the Malays, especially its business community, as they are no longer the country’s kingmakers.
The former premier said the division among the country’s majority electorate has made them fragile and forced the present government to depend on the support of “others” in an apparent reference to the non-Malays.
This is the second time Mahathir had openly called Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s government “frail”, saying it is forced to make key concessions to non-Malay demands in the hope of winning their support in the upcoming national polls.
“I do not believe this government will take your demands seriously,” he told the 2012 Malay Economic Congress held here.
“This is because we [the Malays] no longer hold anymore political power… we have become a beggar in our own country,” he added.
The congress, in its resolutions passed today, criticised the Najib government for what it described as its failure to uphold the New Economic Policy, a system meant to enhance Bumiputera economic participation through race-based affirmative action programmes.
Mahathir claimed that Bumiputeras, forming 60% of the electorate of which the majority are Malays, are forced to fight for “what is theirs” silently as they feared being labelled as racists.
‘I am no racist’
The former prime minister, who served for 22 years, said however, if the non-Malays are vocal in protecting their interests they would not be viewed as racists.
“But I am not a racist. I want the wealth of this resource-rich nation to be shared equitably.
“I am not asking for much. We form 60% and we are only asking for 30% and they can take the rest. But even so, we are not getting the 30%,” he said, referring to the 30% equity ownership programme under the NEP.
Respectable leaders like Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and former Umno No 2 and now Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had said that corruption under the ruling coalition had caused the NEP to fail.
Up to now, since more than 30 years of its implementation, the target had only reached 19% due to abuses of the system often by cronies connected to the ruling party, Umno.
This was admitted by Mahathir himself who told the congress that many of the policies created by the government and aimed at helping the Malays were frequently abused.
“So don’t blame the government. Sometimes we have done much for you but you have abused it. You need to look at yourself and reflect,” he said.
Make Malay agenda ‘top priority’