Umno-PAS alliance bad for race relations, says Dr M

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the second session of the 14th parliament today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said Umno and PAS are trying to isolate Malays from the other communities, as the two Malay-based parties work to formalise ties.

The prime minister said the move was “very bad for a multiracial country”, adding that it would also undermine racial equality.

PAS and Umno are currently negotiating the terms of their cooperation under a joint committee, saying the move was to strengthen Malay unity.

Mahathir today said the Pakatan Harapan coalition too was concerned about Malay unity.

“We are also looking after the interest of the Malays, except we don’t shout.

“We want to make sure that it is not only equal but fair,” he told reporters after attending the opening of the second sitting of the 14th Parliament today.

“We will look after the interest of the Malays and we have stated that we want equitable share in the wealth of this country,” he said.

On Umno and PAS working together to form a state-level unity government, Mahathir said they are free to do as they please.

“If they want to unite, let them unite. If they want to marry, let them marry.

“Malaysia is a free country. If they want to marry men… well, that is not allowed yet. But they can marry others.”

When asked about his advice to ministers and deputy ministers, he said they were sometimes provoked by members of the media.

“Sometimes they are provoked by the press and they answer. The press provokes them because they think they are new and may make mistakes. That is the press’ business.”

On the Agong’s speech at the Dewan Rakyat, especially on those who go against the law, he said the king’s speech covered all issues including unity, religion, and the economy.

“It was a very comprehensive speech,” he said.

On claims by Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim that Putrajaya failed to consult the Conference of Rulers before acceding to the Rome Statute, he said: “He is not an elected representative. He is only speaking for himself.”

On PH’s communication skills, he said many of the leaders are very new.

“Sometimes we say things which may reflect badly on us, but you have to give us time because they (BN) had a 60-year lead compared to us.

“We are in the first year, not even the first year yet – we have two months before we hit the first year. But I don’t think everybody in BN is an expert.

“Some of them make silly mistakes, including the (ex) prime minister.”

On China’s One Belt One Road initiative, he said China is a great power and that Putrajaya has to consider its policies and how to benefit from them.

“Not all policies are bad for us. Some can be very good. It is up to us to find what is good for us and to make use of it.”

On the recently established Economic Action Council, meanwhile, he said a meeting would be held as soon as possible.