KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — The Malays must assert their position as the dominant power in Malaysia or risk becoming like the indigenous natives of developed nations such as the US and New Zealand, deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
He said Malays were now so divided that they faced constant insult and ridicule by those from outside of the community.
“We don’t want to be like the Red Indians who are only left with history, or the Maori who have a museum and the name, but no power,” he said at a meeting with heads of silat schools organised by Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (Pesaka), here.
“We respect other races and religions, but what if they do not respect us?
“It is our own fault, our own weakness... we are divided and we do not respect each other,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also home minister and Umno vice-president, said the responsibility falls on each and every Malay to arise and defend their race and religion from attempts to undermine their rights.
To this end, he said Pesaka would play a key role in providing a common platform for all Malays to set aside their differences and come together as a united people.
Ahmad Zahid also challenged the federation to gather 200,000 members and assemble them at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in six months’ time as a show of strength.
“This is our land. It is true that we must share, but the pillar of power must have its roots in us,” he said.
Pesaka was behind the contentious pro-Malay Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu rally last September 16, ostensibly held to protest the purportedly Chinese-dominated Bersih 4 rally for institutional reforms in August.
The rally was criticised by several local groups over its overt racial messages including a warning for non-Malays to stay away that was later retracted, and reported instances of racism by some attendees.
However, Pesaka president Tan Sri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam clarified that the rally was open to all Malaysians and denied that the rally was called “Himpunan Maruah Melayu” (Malay Dignity Rally), a name that has been associated with the rally that is seen as being for Malay groups only.
The former Malacca chief minister also insisted that Pesaka’s intentions were peaceful despite concerns over its racial overtones.
The rally was held in response to the overnight Bersih 4 rally held ahead of the August Merdeka Day celebrations, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad.