Malay affirmative action policy will continue, Dr M says

Dr Mahathir says the policy that grants Malays special privileges is necessary to bridge the economic and financial gap with other ethnic groups in the country. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Dr Mahathir says the policy that grants Malays special privileges is necessary to bridge the economic and financial gap with other ethnic groups in the country. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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PETALING JAYA, Oct 2 ― The Pakatan Harapan government will not end the national affirmative action policy favouring Malays, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview with BBC today.

The 93-year-old said the policy that grants Malays special privileges is necessary to bridge the economic and financial gap with other ethnic groups in the country.

“Why should I stop? We are trying to correct disparity in wealth between the Malays and others.

‘We have to bring up the Malays to be as wealthy or well-off as others. That needs correction,” he told HARDtalk programme host Zeinab Badawi.

In May 2018, Amnesty International reported Dr Mahathir defending what it called Malaysia’s retrograde affirmative action programme which favours Malays over the country’s other races.

Dr Mahathir said if Malaysia allowed disparity to be left unchecked and spread, the result would create tension which may escalate into confrontations.

Asked if this policy will further alienate or discriminate other Malaysian ethnic races, Dr Mahathir denied any forms of discrimination taking place in the country.

“If you go to Malaysia you will find that the so-called victims of these policies are now the richest people in Malaysia,” he said.

Acknowledging that the policy has caused a brain drain, particularly among the ethnic Chinese, Dr Mahathir said he has encountered many Malaysians who still expressed loyalty to their home country throughout his trips abroad, including the second-leg of his latest working trip to the United Kingdom.

“Many of them were waving Malaysian flags and still place their loyalty in the country although they were part of the Malaysian diaspora overseas,” he said.

He added that Malaysians were welcomed to leave if they found better jobs elsewhere.

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