PETALING JAYA, April 11 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad insisted today that Sabah and Sarawak folks stand as equals to Peninsular Malaysians, after yesterday denying calling them “lazy”.
The chairman of Pakatan Harapan (PH) said the allegation was suggested by Malay daily Utusan Malaysia and not by him nor the Opposition pact.
“I am not that stupid [to call them lazy] as Pakatan Harapan needs their support. Calling them lazy is not the way to gain support.
“This is actually an allegation made by Utusan. Utusan is the one who thought Sabahan and Sarawakian are lazy, not Pakatan Harapan,” he said in a Policy Talk on Sabah and Sarawak broadcast live through on Facebook, referring to the daily.
Dr Mahathir was reported as saying at a recent forum that Sabah and Sarawak had been left behind in terms of development compared to other states because people from both states were not very bright.
Mahathir added today that PH is confident that East Malaysians are more keen to work in certain sectors, particularly the handling of heavy machineries.
“In the peninsular, we often need to use foreign workers to operate heavy machinery however in Sabah and Sarawak, locals are used instead and some are very proficient that companies opted to send them to Africa and South America,’’ he said.
Mahathir added that if more emphasis is given to raise more skilled labour in Sabah and Sarawak, then the wage gap between the Peninsular and East Malaysia can be bridged.