Malaysia’s feisty former premier, Tun Dr Mahathir, who shows no signs of slowing down at 92, has begun scotching rumours and online vitriol that he was a closet anti-Chinese.
In wishing the Chinese Kong Hee Fatt Choy, over Free Malaysia Today the former premier reiterated that he is not anti-Chinese.
Attempts by certain quarters to label him as anti-Chinese were to serve their political agenda, he charged.
He said: “I am not anti-Chinese. I am pro-multiracial Malaysia and Malaysians.” Dr Mahathir said those painting him as anti-Chinese wanted the Chinese to drop support for the DAP.
He said they ignored the fact that he was not opposed to foreign direct investment from China but only mass immigration.
“I am against mass immigration from any country. No country allows mass immigration. Selling land for foreigners to build cities for people from their own country is not FDI”, in faint echoes reminiscent of what US president Donald Trump said on his campaign trail.
The former prime minister added: “My record will show that all races prospered during my premiership. In fact Malaysia became known as an Asian Tiger”.
The man who once predicted that Malaysia may one day have a Chinese Prime Minister shortly before stepping down in 2003 has been unsparing in his well choreographed, chorus of attacks against his successors. His run of attacks on his successor Badawi was unprecedented in modern times amid standing protocol in established democracies that former leaders restrain themselves from launching tirades, all in the name of party and government unity
His stepped up attacks against sitting Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak has also been relentless in recent years with the latter being blamed over Malaysia’s slide in international prestige amid the 1MDB scandal now roiling the country.
Tun Dr Mahathir, during his stewardship from 1981 to 2003 was a strident critic of the West, its foreign policy and their perceived underhand methods when dealing with Asia in general and his nation in particular.
Resentment against him grew to fever pitches in the 1980s and 1990s such that he was compelled to declaim cries that he was anti-European and anti-Jew. He sneered at former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as ‘semua cerah’, which when translated from Malay means ‘all bright’ and imputed to cause ridicule and amusement. He called former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke a ‘bully’ and charged that the West had colonized the minds of Asians.
All said, the former Prime Minister is also known for his legendary magnanimity with him shaking hands and mending fences with US financier, George Soros, the man he once labelled as a criminal for the run of financial ruin Malaysia suffered during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.