After March 8, we are more racial than ever. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told those who say the last General Election was a vote to reject race-based parties and politics to stop deluding themselves. "We have become more racial than ever since the last General Election. We debate about race every day, more than before," he said. In an off-the-cuff lecture on Bangsa Malaysia in Putrajaya this morning, he said if the outcome of the March general election was a rejection of racial politics, there would be less talk about race today. Instead, race has become a central issue since March. That election has stimulated discussion about little else other than race.
"And if PAS is not a race-based party, then I am not Mahathir Bin Mohamad," he said.
DAP not a race-based party? "Apart from some window-dressing, it's still the old DAP".
And PKR? "It is said to be Islamic, it's also pro-Hindraf, and pro-Chinese educationists. But that's because there is this man with many faces who leads the party. After him, who will lead the PKR? If it is led by a non-Malay, it will not have the support of the Malays."
Bangsa Malaysia without Bahasa Malaysia? Dr M also chided those who clamour for a Bangsa Malaysia but are unwilling to give due regards to the national language. These people, he said, should emulate Obama and children of migrant races in the US, Switzerland and Australia.
"Obama, who must be in some ways a descendant of a slave, is today US President. The blacks had tribes in Africa but after years in the US they all speak English. English is their mothertongue. The speak English at work, at school and at home. The same as the migrant Jews. They became naturalised American citizens. But they accpet that as Americans they must speak English."
I'm not Malay Malaysian. Dr M said Bangsa Malaysia exists but mostly among Malaysians abroad, he said. "I've met many Malaysians overseas. Those who approached me introduced themselves as Malaysians, not Chinese Malaysians or Indian Malaysians or Malay Malaysians. Just Malaysians.
"But back home here, they want to go to different schools."
Sekolah Wawasan. For a Bangsa Malaysia to be born, the current race-based schooling system must go. "This is the only country where we have different streams of schools: Chinese, Tamil and National schools. The Chinese educationists think their kids should not get any close to the kids from the national schools. Or they might turn into Chinese Mat rempits."
The idea of Sekolah Wawasan was to put the 3 schools in one campus. This will compel the children of different races to meet and interact with each other. Morning assembly would be held together. The pupils will be in one assembly. When they play, they'll play together. Not Chinese school vs National school.
"I must admit the Sekolah Wawasan concept did not get support, especially from the Chinese educationist groups. They don't want to have anything to do with the Malays."