Mahathir’s advisor Daim Zainuddin tells M’sians not to use May 13, 1969 riots to divide people
He said Malaysians are only threatened when they are not united.
Malaysia’s former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, a man once praised by Lee Kuan Yew, is not shy about speaking his mind.
Daim, who is currently an advisor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, recently told Malaysians to look beyond the past and leave behind racial issues that divide the nation.
Daim: Malaysians should unite for a common cause
Speaking to The Malaysian Insight on the 50th anniversary of the May 13, 1969 racial riots, Daim said those who try to instigate racial division among Malaysians choose to focus on the incident.
Instead, Daim prefers to focus on the success story of Malaysians uniting against the British colonialists, and later on, against the communists and the Indonesian army.
Daim said: “We fought together to save this country, we succeeded, as long as we are united, for a common cause, we will succeed. But again, we have a group who says ‘our position is threatened’.”
“We are threatened because we are not united. If we are together, nobody can threaten us, confront us. We fought together and won.”
He added that Malaysians should leave history as history and “accept reality”.
Opposition parties making use of race to court Malay support
According to Malaysian academics quoted by The Malaysian Insight, opposition parties in Malaysia are deliberately stirring up racial sentiments among ethnic Malays to help build up support.
This is to boost their chances of competing with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Ethnic Malays make up more than 60 percent of voters.
A survey conducted by Ilham Centre and think tank Penang Institute between October and December 2018 revealed that the PH coalition is losing popularity among ethnic Malays.
A report by the Merdeka Centre also revealed that a higher percentage of ethnic Chinese voters voted for the PH in the May 9, 2018 election, as compared to ethnic Malays.
While 35 to 40 percent of Malays voted for Barisan Nasional (BN), only 25 to 30 percent of Malays voted for the PH.
Commented on water dispute with Singapore
Daim also touched upon Malaysia’s sometimes contentious relationship with Singapore.
On May 8, in an interview with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, Daim also commented on bilateral issues with Singapore.
He suggested that the latter could be trying to prolong the water dispute with Malaysia until it becomes self-sufficient.
Daim said Malaysia believes Singapore would no longer need to rely on Malaysia for raw water by the year 2061, which is when the 1962 water agreement ends.
“So maybe Singapore is trying to stretch the dispute till such a time when it can tear up the agreement without any loss,” he said.
Top image via Andy Wong/AFP/Getty Images