PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad successfully used the New Economic Policy to cripple the Malays into thinking that they would forever need a crutch in order to succeed in competition with others, according to a former MP.
Tawfik Ismail said the NEP as envisioned by Abdul Razak Hussein and Ismail Abdul Rahman (Tawfik’s father) was meant to give a temporary advantage to the Malays, not a prolonged dependence.
Using a golf handicap as an analogy, Tawfik said the NEP was to encourage the Malays to strive towards one day demonstrating better proficiency and skills.
“Mahathir saw the Malays as being handicapped, in what the Malays call ‘cacat’ or permanent disability, requiring lifelong crutches to get by. Also he isn’t a sportsman, and doesn’t know that winning and losing are part of the game of life, and hence he was a sore loser in the game of politics,” he told FMT.
Tawfik, a former Umno member, was MP for Sungai Benut from 1986-1990. He co-founded the Gerak Independent electoral reform group in 2019. The group seeks to be a “third force” at elections.
He said Mahathir’s successful “indoctrination of dependence” is the main reason that Malays today think that they cannot succeed without help.
“This is why the Malays have this ‘crutch’ mentality. Instead of competing and trying to get on an equal playing field, they are in fact being hobbled, which I think is the end result of Mahathirism.”
The NEP was first introduced in 1970 after the May 13 riots in 1969. It put forth pro-Bumiputera affirmative actions with wealth distribution at its core. While it formally ended in 1990, it continues to shape the country’s policies.
Anwar and Islamisation
Tawfik also said that there was concern that the type of Islam peddled by Anwar Ibrahim when he was Mahathir’s right-hand man in the 90s would make a comeback.
While Anwar, now prime minister, currently promotes Islam and the concept of Malaysia Madani, he had failed to include the role of the sultans who are the constitutional heads of Islam in their states, said Tawfik.
He said Anwar’s version of Islam was also heavily influenced by Arabism, which disregarded Malay culture and practices. “This has encouraged a kind of thinking that made the green wave a reality as it emboldens a more narrow view of what Islam is,” Tawfik said.
The green wave is a reference to the spectacular gains made by PAS at the general election in November, when it won 43 seats to emerge as the single largest political party in the Dewan Rakyat.
Tawfik said Anwar, in promoting Islam, had failed to take multiculturalism into account, as well as other constitutional safeguards on other faiths and cultures.