Confused Dr.M does it again, calls M’sian Indians disloyal, and many are vexed

File photo of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Photo courtesy of Information Department Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15: The television interview of Dr.Mahathir Mohamad by India-based Thanthi TV, which has been making its rounds in Malaysia the past two days, seemed to have vexed many Malaysians, especially Indians who have watched it including members of the Malaysian Parliament.

The full interview of Dr. Mahathir by Thanthi TV . Courtesy of YouTube.

The former prime minister is seen alleging that Malaysian Indians are not fully loyal to Malaysia and that they are still tied to the country of their origin via their cultural practices and use of their mother tongue – Tamil – at home.

He also suggested that to become fully Malaysian, one would have to “forget about India” speak only the Malay language and become fully assimilated with the Malay culture – nevermind the fact that almost all cultural practices and traditions followed by the Malays have their origins in India.

While many in the social media have dismissed the interview as given by “someone approaching senility”, “A man who has forgotten his Indian roots”, “a divisive racist leader”, a good number of them have also said it was a good interview that has “exposed the divisive nature of the former prime minister”.

Some political leaders have also suggested that Dr. Mahathir’s statements were intended to distract from the ongoing investigation into his crony and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin on allegations of corruption and money laundering.

Meanwhile, netizens have been also commending the television host for maintaining a respectful interview despite the confusing, contradictory and evasive answers from the 98-year-old Mahathir who led Malaysia for 22 years as a prime minister first from 2018 to 2003 and later again from 2018 to 2020.

When asked on his Indian ancestry, Dr Mahathir denied of having any and said he was 100 percent Malay. He also displayed confusion when answering questions related to the Federal Constitution and could not make clear distinction between one’s citizenship status, racial make-up, religion, language and culture and ownership rights in the country.

To a question on why he had a problem with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statement that Malaysia belonged not only to Malays but to the others as well, he said Malaysia belonged only to Malays, saying that they were the original founders of the country.

Others are migrants who had come to the country and hence cannot claim that the country belonged to them, he said.

Among those who have issued statements expressing their disappointment with Dr. Mahathir in the last two days are Minister of Digital Gobind Singh Deo, DAP National Chairman Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department M.Kulasegaran and Selangor State Assemblyman Preakas Sampunathan.

— WE