PUTRAJAYA, Jan 14 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should not question the loyalty of Malaysians of Indian and Chinese descent just because they speak their mother tongue and adhere to their own culture and customs, says Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
In a statement today, the DAP national deputy chairman said this was because Malaysia was a multi-ethnic country with citizens from various religious and cultural backgrounds.
“It is unfortunate that despite having led this country for many years, Dr Mahathir still feels it is appropriate to make divisive statements, especially on ethnic matters.
“The Federal Constitution clearly recognises this, stating that except as allowed explicitly by the constitution itself, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the grounds of religion, race, descent, place of birth, or gender in any law,” he said.
Gobind added that it was widely accepted that many citizens of the country spoke more than one language, with most being fluent in Bahasa Malaysia and their mother tongue, including, among others, Chinese, Tamil, Iban, or Kadazan.
“This has never been an issue for us. On the contrary, it is the diversity that has strengthened us and positioned us to benefit from the largely globalised world we live in today,” he said.
Therefore, he said that Dr Mahathir must acknowledge that all Malaysians, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sabahan, or Sarawakian, have worked and continue to work hard to build this nation.
“It is not wrong if we come from different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds or speak different languages. We are indeed Malaysians and loyal to our country,” he said.
Recently, a news portal reported that Dr Mahathir claimed in an exclusive online interview with an Indian satellite TV channel that Malaysian Indians were still not completely loyal to the country as they were still ‘inexorably tied’ to their country of origin. — Bernama