MP raps Dr M for saying Malays forced to accept foreigners

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh says that dividing the nation along racial lines should be avoided at all costs.

GEORGE TOWN: Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh has criticised Dr Mahathir Mohamad for saying that the Malays were forced to accept foreigners during British rule in exchange for independence.

Opening the Malay Dignity Congress yesterday, the prime minister had reportedly said that foreigners wanted to stay on in this country and “like it or not, we were forced to accept or we will not have achieved independence”.

Ramkarpal said the remark was “highly sensitive and unbecoming of a prime minister who represents all Malaysians”.

He said this could lead to a divided nation along racial lines, “which must be avoided at all costs”.

Commenting on the opening remarks by chief congress organiser Zainal Kling that “Malaysia is for Malays just as Thailand is for the Thais, China for the Chinese, and India for the Indians”, Ramkarpal said that if it was true that Mahathir did not hear him say it, “the prime minister should correct him now”.

“I am in full agreement with Penampang MP Darell Leiking that Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians be it the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, etc and these races must be encouraged to interact harmoniously,” he added in a statement today.

“The PM won the last GE14 largely because of the support of non-Malays. That support was to see reforms for the betterment of this country and to move it forward, not to see the country becoming divided along racial lines.

“I call on the PM to take the lead in narrowing the gap between the races in the country and dispelling the false notion that the Malays are under threat.”

Reprimanding Zainal for his insensitive remarks, he said, would be a good start “and I urge the PM to do so forthwith”.

Meanwhile, an NGO today lodged a police report against Zainal, claiming his remarks were offensive to other races and could possibly cause tension among them.

The Penang Society for Advancement of Tamils claimed that Zainal had, “without any proof”, accused non-Malays of being ungrateful for insulting the Malays.

“If he feels that the Malay sultanates, the Malays and Islam were insulted, he should lodge a police report,” L Yoganathan said after lodging the report at the Perai police station today on behalf of the NGO.