Dr Mahathir was the man who proposed the concept of Bangsa Malaysia, to create an inclusive national identity for all inhabitants of Malaysia to replace the National Culture Policy that asserted a Malay ethnic national identity.
He said Bangsa Malaysia would mean "people being able to identify themselves with the country, speak Bahasa Malaysia, and accept the Constitution."
That was 15 years ago.
Then nine years ago, 6 years after he proposed Bangsa Malaysia, he stated in a speech at the ‘Reaffirming the Idealism of Undergraduates in the New Millennium’ symposium at Dewan Perdanasiswa, Universiti Malaya:
“The Malays should stop sending memorandum after memorandum to the government asking for aid and other things for themselves. Such an approach is no longer suitable because the time has come for them to stand on their own feet.”
“How much longer must the Malays depend on the government and the privileges accorded to them? How much longer must they remain mediocre?”
“How do you view the beggars on the street and then ask yourself what is the difference between their circumstances and yours? The government has done so much to elevate the position of the Malays, be it in business or education so that their achievement would be on par with the races, yet these efforts are never enough.”
“If the Malays could compete on the same level with other races there would no longer be a need for them to restrict themselves to the quota for everything. Must we lower the eligibility standard to the point where even useless students can go to the university just so that we can fill up the 55% bumiputra quota in the local public universities?”
“If so, we must remember that some of the students who go to the university in this manner will someday become doctors and engineers. How can we entrust our life to such doctors or what will be the quality of our infrastructures if they are built by such engineers? It would be much easier to tackle the problem affecting the Malays if they are proven stupid because all that is required would be to encourage them to study harder.”
“However, the underlying reason is much more difficult to address because it is caused by negative attitude and their reluctance to work hard.” – see The Malaysian Insider’s Dr M, father of the regressing Malay — Martin Jalleh.
Yet 3 days ago he was reported in Malaysiakini’s article Mahathir to Najib: Listen to Perkasa as Perkasa's guest of honour to open the ultra right wing NGO's inaugural general meeting, warning Najib:
"I would like to remind the current leadership to listen to the Malay NGOs. They represent the Malays. He should be mindful of the Malays for they are his constituents. They hold the votes (in their hands)."
“The Malays are flocking to Perkasa because UMNO has failed to promote and fight for the Malay cause.”
Dr Mahathir is now known as the man who is the godfather of ultra rightwing Perkasa.
Why has Bapak Bangsa Malaysia, the man who told off the Malays off for seeking handouts, now caused Lim Kit Siang to lament:
“Mahathir has come full circle, from an ultra back again to an ultra – repudiating Bangsa Malaysia and Vision 2020 which he enunciated in 1991. This is the greatest tragedy.”
Indeed, I wonder what has brought about Dr Mahathir's incomprehensible volte-face?