KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Najib Razak says the party adopts an open attitude by accepting various ethnic groups as part of the Malay race, including the Malabari Muslims from Kerala, India.
The prime minister said this was proof that Umno was not trapped in a narrow racial mindset, and that the party also never told non-Malays to return to their place of origin.
“Within the government, all the more than 32 million people in the country are considered Malaysians, regardless of their ethnic origins,” he said in his presidential address to the 71st Umno annual general assembly at PWTC today.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ancestral roots have been traced back to Malabar, a coastal region in Kerala.
Najib said the openness practised by Umno differed from “a former Umno president” whom he accused of being trapped in “colonial mentality”, to the extent that he had insulted people of Bugis origin.
“How low an intellect is this?” he added, in an apparent reference to Mahathir’s alleged remark linking the ancestry of Najib to “Bugis pirates”.