Malays must change their character and value system to succeed — Mahathir

PUTRAJAYA (Dec 29): Government affirmative action to help the Malays in this country will not achieve the objectives if the Malays themselves do not want to change their character and value system in order to succeed, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said the Government had introduced many policies and provided support to the Malays through the affirmative action that implies giving opportunities and support to them but they are the same Malays who have failed.

“That’s because you don’t change the character of the person. I don’t like to say this about my own race but I have to say this. I have to tell them that you are wrong. Affirmative action is about support but the changing of character is something that we have to concentrate on. We have realised that affirmative action alone cannot make a success of the Malays.

“The most important thing is the character of the people, the value system of the people. The value system is wrong, and with that value system that they have, it will not bring success to them,” he said in an interview with selected media organisations at his office here.

He said it was important for the Malays to change the value system that they held on to and practised, especially that which was not suitable for success.

“If we do not work, we do not have an income. If we do not strive, we do not progress. When I say the Malays are lazy, people get angry with me, but that is the truth. If we do not want to work, others are ready to work. In the end, foreigners will own this country. Now, we already have seven million (foreign workers) in Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir said that for the Malays, the best value is the Islamic value as it proposes many good things but still many don’t follow that.

“For example, you are not allowed to break up the Muslims, but some people, because of politics, broke up the Muslims…saying these Muslims are not Muslims, we are the only Muslims and all that. We have broken up…that is forbidden in Islam

“(All Muslims) you are all brothers, (but) we don’t treat others as brothers. He is from that party, his daughter cannot marry my son. That kind of thing is not Islamic. We want to teach them Islamic values. I am quite sure that if they hold to Islamic values they will succeed,” he said.

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Dr Mahathir, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman, said he hoped that it will not be long for the Malays to depend on Government or “tongkat” (walking stick) in order to succeed.

“I have always studied the behaviour of people. What makes them succeed or fail is their culture, value system. The Chinese succeed even without any help,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Malays, while they must know enough about their religion, must also learn other things such as mathematics, science, geography and history, and stressed that the teaching of mathematics and science should be in English.

“I have talked to the people who are now in the process of changing the (national) education policies and stressed that the national schools have become religious schools…that’s what has happened. The Chinese and the Indians won’t go to the national schools. (It is) because four periods in a day, they are teaching Islam, which is fine, but do you want the Malays only to know Islam and nothing else,” he said.

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