The country is in danger because of the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, especially when the matter is linked to race, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a statement, Dr Mahathir said many of the poor are made up of Malays, while the rich are made up of Chinese. However, the two races are not close in their relationship.
“Racist feelings are not liked by intellectuals. But the fact is that this feeling exists in all races in Malaysia. There is a possibility of inter-racial riots,” he said.
He then said that some feel that such matters should not be voiced as it can hurt the feelings of the races but if the matter was not addressed early, it would be even more difficult to fix later on.
Towards the end, he acknowledged that the New Economic Policy (NEP) that was introduced in 1970 to ‘eradicate poverty’ and ‘restructure society to eliminate the identification of race with the economic function’ to create the conditions for national unity had failed.
However, in education field, it reduced the distance between races, he said.
“In the economic field, the weaknesses of NEP have been identified. Corrections have also been made. With this, NEP will achieve better success,” he added.
Meanwhile, the statement has since sparked a huge outrage among netizens with netizens expressing disappointment with the former prime minister for reigniting the hateful politics of rich Chinese and poor Malays.
Many pointed out that Dr Mahathir should take the blame instead as he, who hold office for over 24 years and is the country’s longest-serving prime minister, had failed to address this matter.
Dah jadi PM 2 Kali. 22 tahun 22 bulan. Yang kaya Tun sekeluarga dan kroni. Porah!— محمد رازب نصر (@mrnasrun) August 5, 2022
Penat doe baca hari-hari Melayu miskin, Cina kaya. I can name you at least 10 poor Chinese families I helped during my Kechara days. I can name 20 more family Melayu kaya raya I met in my lifetime. -,,- https://t.co/W2YUZrJmP2— Muzakkir Syah (@muzakkirsyah) August 6, 2022
Some even called for Dr Mahathir and other politicians to stop manipulating Malays with racial-based propaganda.
At the same time, many netizens also pointed out that poverty does not differentiate between race, age or gender.
A number of them highlighted that the income disparity between races continues to exist because Malaysian political parties are highly corrupted. They said unfortunately, the government is not taking effective measures to combat corruption.
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