Restore Malay dignity? Sure, but in spirit of ‘Malaysia Boleh’, says Dr M

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir says the Malays intent on restoring their ‘maruah’ must not rely on others. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir says the Malays intent on restoring their ‘maruah’ must not rely on others. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 ― Malays intent on restoring their “maruah” must not rely on others, Tun Dr Mahathir said today.

The prime minister went on radio station Hot.FM during breakfast urging the country’s biggest demographic group to prove they are a dignified race and are capable of achievements by showing their own grit and tenacity in the spirit of “Malaysia Boleh” rather than counting on others for handouts or a leg up.

“In my opinion to restore the Malays dignity we must work towards it. If we ask other people to do it, our dignity will not recover.

“In order to do it we must show our capability and that we are capable of doing whatever we set our minds to, just like others which is why at one time we introduced the slogans ‘Malaysia Boleh’, ‘Orang Melayu Boleh’, ‘Bangsa Melayu Boleh’,” the 94-year-old said on the morning programme.

He said Malaysians have conquered Mount Everest and the English Channel as examples, adding that Malays too are capable of accomplishing such feats, but questioned if they had the willpower to do so.

“If we have the will, then we must take the necessary steps to restore our dignity. We must show the world that we are honest, dignified, hard working and possess the necessary traits to do so.

“For example if we’re given power, we cannot abuse it. Don’t do bad things. Only then we will be successful and we can restore our dignity. If we ask other people to do it, it’s impossible and even if we ask the government to set out policies that benefit us but we do not maximise these opportunities, we will not be able to recover,” said Dr Mahathir.

The prime minister said the Pakatan Harapan government’s new roadmap for the country was the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV2030), which provided plenty of opportunities for young Malaysians to excel.

The world’s oldest elected leader related that he really wanted to study engineering when he was younger, but could not afford it so he became a doctor because that was the scholarship offered to him then.

“Malays must accept that with all these opportunities that they have now and in the future if they do not grab it with both hands and have the will to work hard and not be lazy, then we will not progress.

“Do bear in mind that the main aim for SPV2030 is not just to raise wages but to reduce the income gap that’s burgeoning.

“If we don’t reduce the gap between the poor and rich, it will continue to breed hate and jealousy among the people which will eventually lead to chaos,” Dr Mahathir said.

“We need to create jobs, work, business opportunities and offer training to the people so they are better equipped for these high paying jobs.”

In parting, Dr Mahathir advised Malaysians to hold fast to the basic life values of hard work, integrity and know a certain degree of shame if they wanted to succeed.

“If said race is hard working, has integrity and have some modicum of shame, when they fail, they will succeed.

“But if you’re living in a gold mine but refuse to do the hard work like digging the gold, melt the gold to make ornaments, then they will fail.

“It all falls on the life values they hold on to. I feel as far as ability goes, everyone's almost the same. It’s when the culture is not similar, where some do not like to work or do not want to study but prefer to chill, this race will not be successful.

“That’s why I’ve noticed many nations that are very well developed while there are others despite having plenty of resources like oil or gold, but they do not work hard, then they will never succeed. This is my observation of over 70 years of having the privilege to travel and observe other countries,” added Dr Mahathir.

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