Dr Mahathir Provokes Singapore Malays
Singapore Malays have united and slammed Dr Mahathir in unison for his remarks made to a gathering of right-wing Malay groups that they are “marginalized”.
He claimed that “even though Malay Singaporeans enjoy the benefits of a more developed country, they have to ‘terbongkok-bongkok’ (kowtow) to others.”
A deluge of letters appeared in the Straits Times Forum today defending the PAP’s track record and system of “meritocracy” in Singapore.
Mustaffa Othman is quick to give credit to the PAP:
“While Dr Mahathir’s opinion on Malay Singaporeans enjoying the benefits of a developed country is spot-on, we have never kowtowed to others. Singaporeans of all races, including Malays, engage in healthy debate and discussions with our Government. The decisions made by the Government, after hearing feedback from its people, are respected as we trust it is in the best interests of all Singaporeans.”
Mr Jeffrey Law puts up a robust defence of the Singapore system:
“‘Most people will dismiss Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks as merely political rhetoric. Singaporeans of all ethnic backgrounds have come a long way since 1965, having embraced the system of meritocracy in all aspects: education, employment and social standing. Most important, our ability to be a developed country within such a short time is due to the concerted effort and sacrifices of all Singaporeans – Chinese, Malays, Indians and others.”
Ahmad Abu Bakar felt that Singapore Malays achieved what they have today through their own merit:
“I strongly object to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks. Like others, Malay Singaporeans work hard for the benefits in a meritocratic system. They are not born with a crutch of ethnic rights, quotas and ‘unfair’ opportunities. When Singapore Malays graduate from universities as doctors, engineers and scientists, they can hold their heads as high as the others, because they have done so by their own hard work and merit.”
Malays form some 15 percent of Singapore’s population and is the largest ethnic minority in Singapore. The Chinese forms the majority at 75 percent.
While the Malays have made great strides over the decades under PAP rule, some grievances remain such as the dearth of Malay officers in the Singapore Armed Forces.
In the last few years, the PAP has been mass-importing Chinese from mainland China to maintain the ethnic ratio. PAP strongman Lee Kuan Yew said in an interview last year that it is a “good” thing that Singapore brings more Chinese as they are more “hard-driving” and “hard-striving” than the locals.