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The Forum > Article Comments > The M factor in Malaysian politics > Comments

The M factor in Malaysian politics : Comments

By Brian Gomez, published 21/11/2006

Sparks continue to fly in Malaysian politics between former PM Dr Mahathir and his chosen successor Abdullah Badawi.

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This is a good, fair summary; but I find it odd that Mr Gomez has made no reference to the extraordinary book by Mahathir, 'The Malay Dilemma', published in 1970, after his accusation about the Tengku over the May 13 riots. In effect Mahathir argued that the Malays should be treated separately from other nationals (meaning especially the Chinese) by the government, as the indigenous proprietors, and that they could maintain their political control only if given privileged assistance in many areas, to offset the economic know-how and financial strength of the Chinese. That was in fact the basis for the discriminatory NEP (New Economic Policy) introduced by Tun Razak the following year, and it has had profound (though debatable) repercussions in all areas of Malaysian society. One outcome has been to make it much easier for Malays than Chinese to enter local universities - hence the number of young Chinese forced to come to Australia.
Posted by oldpro5, Tuesday, 21 November 2006 3:08:10 PM
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Well well....I'm feeling rather at home here.. with the author and oldpro5 also demonstrating a good inside knowledge of Malaysian politics.

Have either of you read "The Politics of Federalism" by Syed Kechik ?
It was banned in Malaysia but it lifted the lid on the cost of getting rid of Tun Mustapha from the Sabah political scene.

Oldpro.. where you in Malaysia ? which part, for how long, what did you do there ? (Nosey arn't I :)

I spent 8 yrs in Sarawak as a missionary. (interdenominational evangelical protestant)

One thing Mahathir learned to make money from his position. I was always reminded of this when I passed the Strawberry Park Hotel in the Cameron highlands which he owned.

I think Dr M is just still in that 'keep your enemies closer' mode and thinks he can just get rid of those who threaten his own ideals.

But the situation about the ethnic riots ... well.. don't you think this lends credibility to the view that emhasizing ethnic difference is not wise in terms of national harmony and identity ?

As you know I'm sure, they also had the "5 sensitive issues" which could not be discussed, and included the privileged position of malays and Islam as state religion and that NEP you referred to.

I feel the sense of 'left behind' ness felt by the Malays has indeed been addressed, and it is abundantly clear that the Chinese would not care two hoots if the Malays languished in the economic dark ages.
We may be totally sure that the Chinese did not seek to further the interests of the Malays, and I contend that this is human nature.

In the Australian context, 'MultiCulturalism' is downright dangerous.
I think history is on my side here.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Tuesday, 21 November 2006 8:19:01 PM
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