After nearly 100 years, from pro-Malay to pro-Malay for Mahathir – I feel great sadness at such a retrograde step as it is a blow to Vision 2020 and concept of Bangsa Malaysia

I feel great sadness that after nearly 100 years in Malaysian politics, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has only moved from pro-Malay to pro-Malay when yesterday he announced a new “Malay” movement – Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) to fight UMNO in the 15th general election.

I feel great sadness because it is a retrograde step which is a blow to Vision 2020 and the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.

In his post-Sheraton Move book, “Capturing Hope”, Mahathir admitted that he has “pro-Malay” and explained:

“Now, I have spent my entire life and career being ‘pro-Malay’. If what people mean by that term is the dedication of time and energy towards helping the Malay community progress, especially in terms of education and income security, then, yes, I am certainly pro-Malay. Being pro-Malay does not entail being anti-everybody else. However, there are those who desire to be seen as ‘Malay first’ even ahead of being Malaysian, and this enabled them to promote the idea of forming a ‘Malay-Muslim Government’. In Malaysia, where more than 30 per cent of the population is made up of non-Malays, this is not possible. And sure enough, the new “Malay-Muslim Government’ of the Perikatan Nasional under Muhyiddin actually depended on non-Malays to survive.”

I accept Mahathir’s definition of “pro-Malay” as not being anti-non-Malays but there are others who define “pro-Malay” as “Malay first” or anti-non-Malays.

But it is very sad that Mahathir has come full circle, that he has done what he had criticised and instead formed Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) which will be a loose political group to combat UMNO in the 15th General election.

Mahathir said that GTA consists exclusively of Malay and bumiputera but it also aims to fight for the interest of all races.

He said: “”We only invite Malays to join the movement, not because we are racist, but we would like to focus our effort on fighting Umno, a Malay-based party that has deviated from (its original struggle).

“If we are not forming a Malay-based movement, there is no way the Malay will support us.”

It is a step in the wrong direction for a country which is a plural society which will be celebrating its 65th anniversary in a month’s time.

Media statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 5th August 2022