KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang has today slammed former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the latter’s racial remarks against the non-Malays recently.

In a statement, he said the veteran statesman should have acted like a role model instead of trying to incite racial tensions as he had helped build the country by spreading messages of togetherness.

“I am very disappointed and strongly condemn the statement issued by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who claimed that the ‘Indian society in Malaysia is still not completely loyal to this country because they identify with their countries of origin’.

“This country gained independence through a social contract and in uniting our races, our forefathers adopted the national integration approach instead of assimilation. Those values have been adopted by us for 60 years and it is now our way of life,” he said.

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Aaron then urged the public and politicians against making statements that would incite racial hatred.

“Politicians must act as role models and instil unity, goodwill and togetherness. Learn from our past and take heed of historical events so that we can continue to enjoy the peace and harmony we’ve built,” he added.

Dr Mahathir in an interview with Indian-language TV channel Thanthi TV had alleged that the Indian and Chinese communities in Malaysia do not identify as Malaysians because they still have loyalty to “their countries of origin”.

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In recent months, Dr Mahathir has been a vocal proponent of assimilating minorities to become Malays so the country can be monoethnic after he joined Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) led by Datuk Ibrahim Ali — which was formed as the political extension of his Malay supremacist group Perkasa.

Last year, he insisted the non-Malays in the country should have been assimilated into the Malay community,to form the “Bangsa Malaysia” concept of nations he envisioned.

Pointing to neighbouring Indonesia, Dr Mahathir said other ethnic groups such as the Chinese there have “successfully” assimilated and embraced the local culture but not in Malaysia.

Earlier last year, he claimed that the majority Malays in the country “did not benefit” from the multi-ethnic fabric of the country.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Dr Mahathir said multi-ethnicism in the country has created a meritocracy where everything went towards those who were most capable, best trained and financially secure — further claiming that this means only non-Malays have benefited from this.