KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin acknowledged today that racial tensions persist in Malaysia but put it down to dissatisfaction in the distribution of wealth.
He said the recent flare ups are likely due to the ongoing struggles faced by many in the Covid-19 economy, exacerbated through sharing on social media which may colour a community’s perception through racial, religious and social class lenses.
He also conceded that while racial tension could not be entirely erased, it should never have a detrimental effect on the country.
“I am in the opinion that such detrimental circumstances cannot continue further and there must be efforts made to address it.
“For example in the issue of wealth distribution, the Malays being the largest component in Malaysia may think they are still not sufficiently uplifted despite having the New Economic Policy back then and they required more.
“If we look back, there were leakages and other bad things that have happened. The feeling of dissatisfaction is still there.
“However among the other races, such as the Chinese and Indians, there are also those comprising the poor, disabled and low-income earners who expressed similar dissatisfaction,” he said during the MakmurBersama @ Kuala Lumpur Town Hall session held here.
He was earlier asked whether identity politics in the country’s policy-making could threaten the aims of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030) and how he could guarantee a harmonious society which formed the basis of nation building.
He said this was the reason why the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV 2030) was introduced in the first place, with said policies stressing on equal wealth distribution and bridging the income gap among the citizenry within a 10-year period.
Muhyiddin said the underlying question now remained as to how his Perikatan Nasional government would address the aforementioned shortcomings without being seen as taking measures that was ‘racially-motivated’ or the sidelining of others.
“Yes, we cannot avoid such sentiments, but the gist is on what we have done thus far,” he said.
Earlier, Muhyiddin said his government is fully focused on continuing the policy rollouts as planned and there is no need for him to guarantee the continuation of the SPV 2030 amid political upheavals that could result in a change of the Malaysian government.
The SPV 2030 was launched in October 2019 by Muhyiddin’s predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad under the Pakatan Harapan administration.
It is styled as a 10-year blueprint for the government to provide a decent living standard to all Malaysians ― regardless of their ethnicity, social class and location ― by the year 2030.