Backlash from Zahid’s Jibe About Mahathir’s Lineage

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False allegation, racist, sexist, no class, unbecoming and more – the reactions to Zahid’s dig at Mahathir’s parentage.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed yesterday that he had received a photo of former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s blue identity card which allegedly stated his name as “Mahathir a/l Iskandar Kutty” (“a/l” meaning “anak lelaki”, which translates to “son of” in English).

According to Mahathir’s daughter, Marina Mahathir, the allegation is false, clarifying the matter to FMT.

“It should be Mahathir bin Mohamad because my grandfather’s name was Mohamad bin Iskandar,” Marina said.

Zahid claimed that the photo of the identity card was provided to him by national registration department (NRD) director-general Mohd Yazid Ramli, saying it showed that “the man who struggled for the Malay agenda” was actually “using the Malays”.

Marina condemned this statement and pointed out that her grandfather Mohamad Iskandar, was the first Malay headmaster of Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Setar.

“Besides being racist, Zahid is also being sexist because apparently, women don’t count in lineage, even though they’re the ones who give birth.

“My father’s mother, Wan Tempahwan came from a long line of Kedah royal household courtiers.

“My father’s paternal grandmother was also Malay, but since people didn’t keep records (then), I don’t know her name and I don’t think my Dad knew her too,” she said

In his 2011 autobiography ‘A Doctor in the House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’, Mahathir acknowledged his South Indian heritage, but said: “I am a Malay and am proud of it.” 

“I am a Malay not just on paper. I am also a Malay in sentiment and in spirit.”

President of Gabungan Persatuan Malabar Malaysia, Mustafa Abdul Rahman told FMT that he too was aware that “Iskandar” was the name of Mahathir’s late grandfather.

Mustafa said that a lot of Malaysians were the product of mixed-marriages, including Mahathir.

“Some of them, because of the mixed marriage, became more Malay than anything else,” Mustafa said.

Meanwhile, former information minister Zainuddin Maidin criticised Zahid’s questioning of Mahathir’s lineage which he describes as “hitting below the belt,” FMT reported.

“Even Zahid himself had once accepted Mahathir (as Umno president and the prime minister). And the Malays too had accepted him, so his lineage should not now become an issue,” Zainuddin said.

Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim expressed the same views. He said the attack on Mahathir is “most unfair”.

“And it’s unbecoming from a leader of the country,” Zaid said

PPBM supreme council member Tariq Ismail, on the other hand, “thanked God” for Zahid’s statement.

According to Tariq, Zahid had revealed that Umno leaders, who had been boasting that the party is made up of fighters of the Malays, was actually led by a non-Malay for more than 22 years.

“The Malays are no longer tied to the dogma that they can only be led by another Malay,” he said in a statement.

The grandson of former deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, Tariq added that while Zahid had claimed his remarks about Mahathir weren’t meant to be a personal attack, it actually was.

“When the lineage of any race is considered disgraceful, it crosses the line between being personal and professional,” Tariq said.

Mukhriz Mahathir’s supporters’ facebook page also clarified his father’s ancestral roots – that it was Mahathir’s grandfather and not father who came from Kerala.

The post also claimed that those from Kerala are not native to India but are of Yemeni lineage.

Mukhriz Mahathir FC/Facebook

Finally, from the man himself, Mahathir has urged Zahid to produce the said identity card which purportedly stated his name as “Mahathir a/l Iskandar Kutty”.

“If he can show it, then I want to see it. Don’t hide,” Mahathir said.