KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Putrajaya should focus on recovering the economy to ensure so-called “3R” issues — royalty, religion, and race — do not catch the public’s attention, MCA said today.
Its vice-president Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said this includes efforts to tackle inflation, food security and affordable housing.
“If the welfare of the people is taken care of, 3R issues would not garner a lot of attention,” he said.
Tan claimed that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had made controversial racial remarks several times before to divert attention from his children and himself.
“Unfortunately, this tactic may incite hate amongst the multiracial society until other important issues are neglected,” he added.
“He should have promoted the variety of races and cultures as an asset of our country on the global stage, especially in an era where war and ethnicity issues plague the world,” he said.
Expressing his disappointment, Tan said Dr Mahathir should have been proud that Malaysians live together in harmony instead of uttering seditious words threatening the good relations between races.
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 the latter’s Malay supremacist group Perkasa.
Last week, National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang slammed Dr Mahathir for his remarks, saying 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.