KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s racial remark against the Indian community could be exploited by extremist groups seeking to capitalise on existing divisions within the nation, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance’s (Muda) acting president Amira Aisya has warned.
She condemned Dr Mahathir’s comments and said Malaysians of all races and religions helped to build the country, and questioned the former prime minister’s motivation for making the remark.
“What is the point of accusing the Indian community of being disloyal to the country? These sorts of remarks can be misused by extremist groups who are waiting to take advantage of the situation,” she said in a statement.
According to her, the ethnic Indians still continue to be burdened by Dr Mahathir’s prejudice and find themselves having to defend themselves against such an attitude.
Amira also urged the public to never underestimate any Malaysian’s loyalty towards the country.
“I think the real question to ask is: is Dr Mahathir committed to protecting our country or is he more interested in seeing us divided?” she further asked.
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”.
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.
Earlier, National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang slammed Dr Mahathir 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.