Mahathir draws similarities between PAP and Malaysian opposition party

Nurul Azliah Aripin
Nurul Azliah Aripin
Mahathir Mohamad speaks in an interview with AFP at his office in Kuala Lumpur last June. Four years after leading a charge to oust Malaysia's previous prime minister, authoritarian ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad is making his sizeable influence felt again as a close election looms

Singapore’s ruling party bears similarities to one of Malaysia’s opposition parties, according to Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad.

Mahathir posted an opinion piece on a news publication on Friday, drawing parallels between Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) back in 1963 and the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in Malaysia today.

Both parties did not support the spirit of sharing between multiple races and believed that “Sino-Malay cooperation” should not be used as a basis for a country’s growth, he noted. Instead, they urged adoption of a meritocratic system, which the former prime minister claimed did not come without a higher agenda.

He said that the PAP’s campaign to promote meritocracy in Malaysia was in line with their goal to “antagonise” the Chinese against the Malays and the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

At that time, PAP had done so by informing the Chinese in Malaysia that the country was being ruled by Malays instead of the “cleverest” and “qualified”.

In his opinion piece, Mahathir explained that this is similar to DAP, which is campaigning in the current general election in Malaysia.

He believes that DAP is currently “breaking up the community and splitting Chinese voters from the Malays” and added that the similar acronym to PAP was “not accidental”.

In reference to DAP candidate Lim Kit Siang who is contesting in Gelang Patah, a constituency in Johor, Mahathir said that Kit Siang hopes to split the Malay votes in order to defeat the ruling party coalition that is Barisan Nasional.

“Now, UMNO is contesting Gelang Patah with little hope of getting Chinese support.”

According to him, DAP was formed by a group of Singaporeans who had stayed behind while the rest left Malaysia in 1965. He further likened DAP to the PAP in that the former had claimed to be multiracial despite being made up of mostly Chinese.

While Singapore based its growth on meritocracy, Malaysia depends largely on “Sino-Malay cooperation”, he noted.