NGOs could decide election outcome: Dr Mahathir

By Sajahan Abdul Waheed

KUALA LUMPUR: Political parties should not belittle the roles played by non-governmental organisations, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.

He said the voice of the non-governmental organisations could influence the results of the general election.

"In the last general election, the Malays felt their voices were not heard by the political parties be they from the government or opposition.

"So they resorted to airing their grievances through NGOs. That is why Umno did not fare well in the election," said Dr Mahathir when launching Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa), near here.

Dr Mahathir said unlike before, Malays now were not afraid to protest openly.

He also hit out at political leaders who felt that the Malays had no choice but to support them.

"These leaders gave importance to winning over the non-Malays. They also made decisions which hurt their feelings."

Citing an example, Dr Mahathir said during the 1969 polls, he was confident of being able to retain his Kota Star Selatan parliamentary seat with the support of the Malays alone, but he was proven wrong when he lost to Pas candidate Yusof Rawa.

He said non-Malays should not question the special privileges enjoyed by the Malays and the Bumiputeras.

"They must remember that it was the Malays who agreed to give them citizenship previously. Maybe the earlier generation of non-Malays is thankful of that but the present generation has forgotten it.

"I am not a racist but I feel offended when I read an article recently (in a local publication) that there are no real Malays in the world and that Malays are actually immigrants (pendatang).

"I feel sad when Malays become weak, people throw all kinds of accusations at us."

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir refused to comment on reports that during the Umno Youth meeting on Thursday, some executive council members had called on Khairy Jamaluddin to step down as head of the movement.

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