Without knowing hard work, what can Malays be ‘masters’ of? Dr M asks

Azril Annuar
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia’s largest ethnic group should have learned their lesson from history, adding that it was unfortunate that they had not but continued to proclaim themselves as 'tuan', the Malay word for 'master'. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — The Malays still have not realised that hard work is the key to success, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote on his blog today.

The prime minister said that Malaysia’s largest ethnic group should have learned their lesson from history, adding that it was unfortunate that they had not but continued to proclaim themselves as “tuan”, the Malay word for “master”.

“Until today the Malays still have not realised. They still refuse to work. The Malays would surrender all jobs to foreigners. And foreigners flood our country. Seven million foreigners are still here. They work. What will happen to the Malays,” he wrote in Bahasa Malaysia.

“Of course what happened to the country and the Malays before, will happen again. There are those that claim Malays are the Masters. Master of what? They are the poor, the unskilled, those that depend on the sympathy of others, is that a Master?

“Our fortune lines in our hands. Getting upset at others won’t solve our problems. Our numbers increase but a large number of the poor cannot compete with the few that are wealthy,” he said.

In his blog, the 94-year-old Kedahan recalled his youth when the peninsula was still colonised by the British.

Sharing some of his historical observations, he said that no Malay was willing to work in tin mines and rubber estates opened by the British; instead they opted to continue being rice farmers, fishermen or in the civil service.

He said that the Malays back then—similar to Malays today—looked down on hard labour, particularly those categorised today as the 3Ds—dangerous, dirty and difficult.

“Due to their attitude, there were not many Malays living in the city. At that time the cities were developed and filled with Chinese shops. There were no Malay shops and only a few Indian restaurants and spice shops,” Dr Mahathir recalled.

He observed that the Chinese would normally migrate to another country if they find opportunities there, including the United States, Australia and other British colonies. 

The world’s oldest elected official also said the Chinese had no qualms being a coolie and would take on 3D jobs, with some Chinese women working in the households of Malay nobles as maids and nannies.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that the Malays were not serious in business and would only do it on a part time basis. They had no intention of developing their businesses into larger enterprise and was content if they had enough to feed themselves.

Related Articles Kashmir issue dominates Modi-Dr M talks, says foreign minister Dr M says Russian interest in Malaysia 'very real', may lead to new markets PM arrives in Osaka for three-day working visit