Organisers of the recent Malay Dignity Congress stirred up racial sentiment to cover up corruption and inequality in the Malay community, said PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
The prime minister-in-waiting told a Turkish television channel that the organisers of the congress, whose speakers have been accused of racism, were “complicit in the crimes of the past”.
“They were completely oblivious or silent or muted (when it came to) endemic massive corruption,” Anwar said in a special interview at the TRT World Forum in Istanbul.
“Why are you talking about Malay supremacy when you condemn them to poverty and enrich a few, you condone corruption and ignore the ethical, universal values of Islam?”
Many of the congress participants held positions of power in academia and politics during the Barisan Nasional era, including government leaders now being prosecuted for fraud, abuse of power and money-laundering.
The event has drawn brickbats for advocating a Malay supremacist worldview – that Malaysia belongs only to the Malays and that the other ethnic communities are foreigners despite the fact that they have lived here for generations.
Other speakers at the congress called for the top posts in government to only be occupied by Malays and for the abolition of vernacular schools.
It was also attended by Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan colleagues, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.
Anwar was not invited.
Anwar described the use of race and religion as a shield against his type of politics which promote a more egalitarian Malaysia for its ethnic communities.
“Patriotism can be a refuge for scoundrels. They reserve the issue of race because they fear the tough stance I have against corruption and abuse of power. My interest is to proceed on that score.
“I am a Malay and a committed Muslim and I want Muslims and Malays to succeed. But I am also a leader for all Malaysians.
“It is time after six decades of independence that we consider our citizens, that we treat them as equals”.
He also repeated his needs-based affirmative action doctrine which he would pursue when in office.
“To my mind, to assist the Malays, to have a transparent programme to assist the poor irrespective of race that vast majority (who would benefit) would be Malays.” – TMI