UPDATED SEPANG: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today again launched a scathing attack on Chinese educationist group Dong Zong, but stopped short of saying whether the government would ban the organisation amid an online petition that has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.
This comes a day after the prime minister labeled Dong Zong “racist” after the group launched its own petition to oppose the move to introduce khat lessons in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus next year.
“We have freedom of speech, but we are always sensitive about instigating different races to fight with each other,” he told reporters today after attending the 21st anniversary celebration of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Also present were Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook, Malaysia Airports group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, Malaysia Airports chairman Zainun Ali and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari.
Mahathir said it was up to police to decide whether or not to outlaw Dong Zong.
But he warned that Dong Zong would be violating the country’s laws “if it keeps inciting people to fight each other”.
In his latest attacks against Dong Zong, he said the organisation “had never fought for Malaysia but for one race in the country”.
“When you do something, you must think what the other race says. And if they are not happy, you should try and accommodate. But Dong Zong has never said a word about Malaysia, it is always about Chinese education. Even when I proposed that we should have this Wawasan School to bring people together, Dong Zong objected to that, because it means Malay and Chinese children mixing together.
“What’s wrong with Malays, Chinese and others going to school together? I went to a school where there were all races, the Benggalis (Punjabis), Indians, Chinese.
“That’s what I said, it (Dong Zong) is a racist organisation, devoted entirely to the racial defence of its own community,” said Mahathir.
Meanwhile when asked to comment on Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s claim that Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to him, Mahathir said:
“You can ask them. How can you ask me, I wouldn’t know.”
The controversial preacher’s claim at a talk recently drew brickbats from DAP leaders, including Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran.
Mahathir renewed his government’s commitment to protect Naik.
“We cannot send him back because he runs the risk of being killed. But if any country wants to have him, they are welcome.”
At press time, a petition calling for the government to ban Dong Zong has gathered over 60,000 signatures. The petition was started by Malay rights movement Gerakan Pengundi Sedar (GPS).