Mahathir: Non-Malays should be assimilated and ‘become Malays’ as part of ‘Bangsa Malaysia’

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Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has insisted the non-Malays in the country should have been assimilated into the Malay community, to form the “Bangsa Malaysia” concept of nations he envisioned.

Pointing to neighbouring Indonesia, Dr Mahathir said other ethnic groups such as the Chinese there have “successfully” assimilated and embraced the local culture but not in Malaysia.

“But when the migrants wished to retain their identities and going as far as to dispute the ownership of this country to be not a Malay country but a multicultural one, that meant we have lost our country,” he said in the Keluar Sekejap podcast, referring to the Malays.

He justified his claim by pointing to how part of Malaysia was historically Tanah Melayu, and declared the Malays to be the pioneers of the land.

“The Malaysians I defined are the Malays,” he said, referring to the nation he envisioned.

“They are Indonesians because they have embraced the way of living of the Indonesian people. They do not call themselves Indonesian Malays or Indonesian Chinese but in Malaysia, we got Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Malays.


“Why do [the non-Malays] want to retain their different cultures, languages and alienate themselves from the locals?” he asked.

Earlier this year, Dr Mahathir caused controversy by claiming that the majority Malays in the country “did not benefit” from the multi-ethnic fabric of the country.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Dr Mahathir said multi-ethnicism in the country has created a meritocracy where everything went towards those who were most capable, best trained and financially secure — further claiming that this means only non-Malays have benefited from this. – MMO