Racial achievement gap to blame, Dr M says on developed nation flop

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the achievement gap between races is partly to blame for the country’s inability to achieve developed nation status like South Korea and China.

He also said it was unfortunate that the achievement gap between certain races was so large, to the point that it created an imbalance between the rich and the poor.

“At this point, there are two Asian countries that have achieved developed nation status, namely South Korea and China. Why can’t Malaysia achieve the same?

“We have many problems, including the fact that this is a multiracial country and there are some races that have progressed and some that have been left behind,” he said during the monthly assembly with personnel from the Prime Minister’s Department here today.

He said he was also worried that the income gap between the rich and the poor according to race would continue to grow, leading to revolutionary movements like those that occur in European countries.

“This is not a healthy situation for any country. We see this happening in Europe, where the poor take over the country in order to help themselves. We are fortunate that there are no revolutions in Malaysia,” he said.

“If the gap is too big, there will be feelings of jealousy and so on. Eventually, the people might act against the law.”

Mahathir added that Putrajaya’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 would help the poor improve their standing in life, although change would need to come from within the community itself.

“The poor need to embrace the agendas to help them,” he said. “We cannot eliminate poverty by giving out money. This will not make them any richer.

“If we give them money, they will remain poor. The way to overcome poverty is for them to accept the government’s proposals.”

He said the government would try to help by identifying industries and job opportunities for the community.

“However, they also need to work on their own with a little help from the government.”