KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested today that future government leaders could open the immigration floodgates to dilute the number of Malays in the country.
He said in a posting on his popular blog that the current national leadership appears to believe that Malays would continue to account for 60 per cent of the country’s population.
“(For them) we are 60 per cent, we will continue being 60 per cent, maybe the percentage will even go up.
“But anything can happen in future. You only need to open the door to immigration and the percentage changes,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s latest remarks marks a continuation of a more strident right-wing tone adopted by the former prime minister in recent months in his push for a siege mentality among Malays.
Last month, he argued that the community’s political leaders are now under the thumb of “the others” and need to be united again for the sake of its future.
He illustrated his argument by referring to the fall of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government which he characterized as being “led by a Malay (but) a certain race considered it the fall of a government belonging to their race.”
Dr Mahathir has been stepping up his rhetoric in recent months to lobby for the current Umno leadership to respond to disquiet among conservative Malays.
Backed by increasingly influential right-wing Malay groups like Perkasa, Dr Mahathir and his supporters have rattled Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s reform agenda.
Dr Mahathir and Perkasa have not directly criticised Najib, but they have slammed some of his ministers and proposed policies for not fulfilling the “Malay agenda.”
The former PM also told a gathering last month of right-wing Malay groups that Malays are in a crisis and risked becoming marginalised like “Singapore Malays” because of political divisions.
In his latest remarks today, Dr Mahathir pointed out that Malays were a minority before 1930 under the British administration.
He said there was no guarantee that future governments would maintain the country’s strict immigration policies.
“Looking at the antics of Malay leaders who are crazy about becoming PM until they are willing to do or promise anything, looking at how easy it is for corrupt leaders to win because of how cheap it is to buy votes, is it impossible that the door to immigration is eventually open because of corrupt leaders?”
Dr Mahathir expressed concern that the majority of Malays were not prepared to compete and would end up as labourers and chauffeurs.
“But never mind. Is it so bad to be a labourer or a driver?” asked Dr Mahathir.