KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today rejected a call to strike a political compromise with Umno and PAS, two days after he joined leaders from the two Malay parties in calling for greater Malay unity.
The prime minister said the proposal by Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan would not suit Malaysia’s multiracial character.
“Our country is multiracial. All communities have rights in this country,” he told reporters in Parliament today.
Mohamad had earlier said that if Mahathir was sincere about fighting for Malay dignity as he claimed during the recent Malay Dignity Congress in Shah Alam, he should have no problem accommodating Umno and PAS in the present administration.
“I think Umno and PAS should have no problems accepting Mahathir and PPBM in their Malay agenda. The problem today is Mahathir is only looking from his own point of view,” Mohamad said in a statement.
He added that Mahathir could easily build a coalition government with Barisan Nasional, PAS and those from Sabah and Sarawak if the prime minister was sincere about his remarks.
He also called for PAS and Umno to be given a role in restoring the country, saying they do not want to be “just passengers”.
“It’s up to Mahathir to make a decision, because the truth is many Malays have made the choice to reject PH,” he said.
Speaking today, Mahathir also dismissed claims that he was provoking the Malays through his speech at the congress.
“I’m just saying that the dignity of the Malays has to be restored by the Malays themselves. We cannot rely on other people or the government.
“That was the content of my speech, and I don’t think I did anything wrong,” he said.
At the gathering, Mahathir had said the Malays could organise multiple congresses but that their dignity would still suffer if the community did not change its attitude.
He told reporters today that his remarks reflected his observations about the community, and that it was important to speak truthfully in order to correct people.
“I want to speak the truth because I’ve found that there are some who don’t want to work. If they don’t want to work, it means they’re not interested.
“If we can’t rebuke people, how can we correct them? If they do wrong and we still praise them, that is wrong,” he said.