Mahathir Urges Malays to Work Harder as Opposition Stages Racial Rally

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Prime Minister Mahathir stated on Dec 8, Malaysia’s Malays and bumiputeras must work harder to compete with the other races in the country. Tens of thousands of Malay Muslims rallied in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to celebrate the government’s U-turn. After weeks of pressure by pro-Malay groups, according to, Tun Mahathir’s multi-ethnic government decided last month that it would not ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), without giving a reason why it was going back on an earlier commitment to sign.

Source: EPA-EFE

“In our own country, we (Malays and bumiputeras) have retreated far from conurbations and many of us are from poor families. Yes, today we are powerful politically and with this power we can extend a little assistance to the Malays and bumiputeras, think about it, but if  we do not have political power and we are not given special privileges, it will mean that we will be poorer than we are now,” he said at the opening of the Bumiputera Education and Entrepreneurship Carnival 2018  at the Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam.

Furthermore he stated, “If we realise we are lagging behind and are embarrassed as to why we are left behind in our own country then we should try to endeavour to make ourselves successful like other people. If we are behind, we have to run faster than the people in front.”

Responding to a question from the audience on why the government did not ratify ICERD, Dr Mahathir said: “If we do not give the Malays more opportunities than other races, if we believe we must give everything equally, in equality, then those who are competent will be more successful and those not will be left behind.


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Amira Alaydroes
Social Development, Art and History enthusiast.