Dr M sought to explain his anti-Chinese stance

Dr M: Chinese will back Barisan Nasional if needs are taken care of.

JOHOR BARU, MALAYSIA - The Chinese community will support Barisan Nasional if their interests such as business opportunities are taken care of, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Based on his own experience, Dr Mahathir said he was initially viewed as an ultra-Malay and that all Chinese felt doomed when he was chosen as deputy prime minister back then.

'However, Barisan's win in 1999 and the previous years were due to their (Chinese) support.

'It is important to assist the bumiputra and Malays but we must also take care of their (Chinese) rights,' he told newsmen after launching the Malaysian Association of Youth Clubs' veteran card yesterday.

On another matter, Dr Mahathir urged Umno members to voice their concerns if their leaders were not on the right track.

'If they feel that their leaders are not listening, they can even challenge them.

'There must be some challenges in the party to enable us to rise to the occasion,' he said. Dr Mahathir cited examples of how he was challenged by leaders such as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

'The problem is that the Malays do not understand the democratic system.

'They think if they have a party, they must support it even if the party is wrong,' he said

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