SHAH ALAM, Oct 7, 2019, NST. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivered a blistering keynote message at a congress held to uphold the dignity of the Malay race. He renewed his calls for the Malays to work hard rather than depend on government assistance to restore their honour, reported the New Straits Times.
The prime minister lamented that dignity was not accorded by expecting help from others, but through accomplishment if the Malays wanted to stay ahead.
“On many occasions, we start the event with doa (prayers) seeking protection, blessing and many other things from Allah.
“We, however, should remember that God will not provide assistance unless we, ourselves, take the initiative and work hard to improve our fate.
“And, this is enshrined in the Quran.
“I have faith in this congress that it was organised to look for ways that we can ourselves embark on actions to improve the fate of the community,” said Dr Mahathir in his almost hour-long speech at Kongres Maruah Melayu.
Present were Malay leaders comprising members of the Cabinet and opposition parties, including Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.
Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa was also present at the congress which was organised by Universiti Malaya, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir cited the British colonial era, when foreign workers were brought in as the country’s workforce.
The Malay rulers at the time, said Dr Mahathir, thought the foreigners would return home to their respective countries after completing their work.
“It was not the case after the foreigners became complacent and decided to stay in the country.
“Regardless of whether we like it or not, we allowed them (foreigners) to stay in the country.”
Fast forward to the present, Dr Mahathir said the nation’s workforce was being dominated by foreign labour because the Malays refused to endure what they considered hard labour.
“Because we are not willing to be employed in work that is hina (demeaning), berat (heavy), kotor (dirty) and dangerous, we eventually let the employment opportunities slip away into the hands of others.
“And, people who take up such work later progress ahead, subsequently improve their position in the community.
“During my visit at a construction site of a high-rise tower, I am sad that I could not find people from the same group (race) as mine working there.
“Are we (the Malays) that bacul (coward) to engage in this kind of work?
“We must accept that this is what happening today or we will not able to restore our pride and dignity,” he said.
The Malays, he said, must realise and change their mindset if they want to safeguard their rights and interest.
“If we become a race that can do every kind of work and we work hard for it, rule the country accordingly, I am sure that no one will look down on us.
“I want to appeal to all you to not let others take up the work and opportunities,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said regardless of the number of congresses held, the Malays could only change their fate if they work hard.
Even with assistance from the government, the Malays will be left behind if they refuse to make use of opportunities and strive for greater achievements, he said.