KUALA LUMPUR: Businessman and philanthropist Koon Yew Yin has dismissed concerns over a possible repeat of the May 13, 1969 incident if Pakatan Harapan (PH) wins the coming election.
Likewise, Malaysians shouldn’t worry that a government led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad would stress a Bumiputera-first policy leading to abuse and injustice to non-Malays, he said.
Koon, co-founder of IJM Corporation Bhd, said many non-Malays were concerned about two questions: What will happen if PH wins and some sore losers lose their heads or are instigated to engage in violence as happened in May 1969, and whether the injustices suffered in the implementation of a Bumiputera-first policy will be repeated.
“My answer to the first question is that I do not see any possibility of a repetition of the bloody racial riots because this is now 50 years after that event.
“The socio-economic situation is completely different: the Malays are no longer impoverished or marginalised, and it will also be impossible for any group or even party to organise armed violence given the openness of society and the current technology which makes news spread like wildfire.”
Another reason this won’t happen, he said, was that unlike in 1969, there were now numerous Malay opposition groups including political parties such as Amanah, PKR and PPBM, as well as other elite Malay groups who would not want a recurrence of racial violence.
“They have more to lose than any other community in the country and I am sure that they will ensure a peaceful transition of power should PH win the election.”
As to the second question, Koon said, Mahathir had openly said he regretted not putting in place a stronger check on power when he was prime minister. He had also said that he would not repeat his mistake if he becomes the next prime minister.
“Another key mistake that Mahathir made was with the continuation of a non-meritocratic Bumiputera policy. This has not only resulted in racial division but worse, damaged our economy and made all Malaysians poorer.
“When the Bumiputera policy was declared in 1970, our GDP per capita was the same as (that of) Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Currently, the GDP per capita of Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea are four times, three times and 2.5 times ours respectively.
“I am sure that Mahathir will want to ensure the achievement of his Vision 2020 when he comes to power again. Although 2020 is less than two years away, I am confident that he will introduce new, even-handed economic policies to make Malaysia a developed nation as soon as practical.”
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