Opposition MPs wade in on wealth and race

KUALA LUMPUR: An MP from the opposition today spoke against viewing one race as richer than the others, saying communities should be evaluated according to their financial status instead of ethnicity.

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Ngeh Koo Ham (PH-Beruas) acknowledged the perception that the Chinese were rich while the Malays and Indians were poor.

However, he said it was not right to say that the Chinese were the richest community in the country.

“For the Chinese, the Malays are the richest because of the land banks,” he said, adding however that the Chinese should not envy the Malays because of their land.

He also said the older generation of Chinese had experienced poverty to the extent that they had no food and would give their children to other families for adoption.

William Leong (PH-Selayang) meanwhile said the perception of Malays as lazy and the Chinese as greedy was rooted in colonial stereotyping.

“We need to come out of this,” he said. “In this new era, we need to change this.”

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) said it was the colonial perception that all indigenous people were lazy.

“Our problem is that it caught on in Malaysia,” he said, adding that this was the case for some “Malay intellectuals” as well.

He also said society must display greater maturity on the matter.

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