May 24, 2003

Dr Mahathir tells Malays to discard "handout" attitude

JITRA May 23 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad Friday called on the Malays to discard the attitude of getting comfort without putting any effort to earn it.
It was this attitude that resulted in the Malays being easily colonised in the past and it was hoped that history would not be repeated, he said when delivering his adjournment speech at the delegates meeting of the Kubang Pasu UMNO division, here.
Dr Mahathir, who is also head of the division, expressed fear that there were still many Malays who adopted the attitude of passing the responsibility of developing themselves and the nation to others.
He had raised the matter during a rather heated debate on a resolution by the division's committee to raise the annual membership subscription from RM1 to RM2.
The resolution, which was proposed by divisional committee member Mohamad Abdul Rahim and seconded by Wanita UMNO divisional committee member Rosnah Ghazali, was opposed by a member as it would pose a burden on party members who were in the lower-income group.
The resolution, which was debated for more than an hour, was eventually passed through the vote, but Dr Mahathir, who is also UMNO president, had voted not to support it.
He explained that he did not support the motion not because he did not agree that the subscription should be raised but that the increase was not enough.
Dr Mahathir said although the subscription was raised by one ringgit, UMNO only managed to collect RM6 million a year whereas the party had to stump up RM14 million for expenses for its administration.
To illustrate his point, the prime minister recalled how a Chinese towkay in Kedah had succeeded in getting the monopoly of collecting taxes and selling opium because of the attitude of the Malays who wanted the easy way of achieving comfort.
He said the Ruler had never received enough taxes and revenue from the sale of opium because the people entrusted to collect the taxes had not carried out his responsibility sincerely and properly.
"The Ruler (later) agreed to give the task to a Chinese towkay because he had promised a revenue that was 10 times higher than what was collected previously," he said.
Dr Mahathir said the Malay states, except for Melaka, fell to the British not because of war but because the leaders then wanted comfort without working towards it.
"The Ruler at that time wanted a yellow palace and a yellow Rolls Royce car and political pension and handed the responsibility of administering the state to the British.
"What will happen if we want comfort without working. Don't be like the Malay rulers of the past who had handed over the administration of the country to the British merely because they wanted the easy way out," he said.
He also reminded the voters in the Kubang Pasu parliamentary constituency not to vote for Pas in the next general election because they would lose what they had been enjoying all this while.
In his opening speech earlier, Dr Mahathir had said that the opposition party only knew how to make slandering statements and had never contributed anything when the government was struggling to overcome the economic crisis faced by the country earlier.