PUTRAJAYA Aug 23 - Opportunities given to the Malays to better their lot will go to waste if these do not go in tandem with the appropriate value system such as perseverence and hard work, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Monday.
He said the Malay community must build up a culture of resisting immediate satisfaction and banish the thought that they should be helped all the way by the government.
"By having good values, the Malays can become a truly competitive race. When this happens they will have less fear (of the other races) and can eventually do with less protection for themselves," he said when speaking at the Perdana Discourse Series tackling the topic of national unity, here.
In his trademark blunt style, Dr Mahathir was critical of the Malay community who still needed protection and special rights as symbolised by the Malay reserve land.
"As a Malay I feel ashamed to have land reserved for me (the Malays)," he said, drawing a parallel between the lot of poor Malays and the native Red Indians of the United States who lived on similarly demarcated land.
Noting that having Malay reserves had been equated with being the owners of the country, Dr Mahathir however said that "ketuanan Melayu" (Malay dominance) did not come with living on such lands.
He said that the Malays in Kampung Baru in the heart of Kuala Lumpur were practically living in tin-roofed houses on millions of ringgit worth of real estate.
It was a pity, he said, that they do not want to see it developed for much bigger returns.
Turning to national unity, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was fortunate in that its people of various cultures and backgrounds were getting closer to one another.
He said Malaysians must be on guard against certain elements in the society who do not want to see "impurities" present in their respective cultures.
Also present at the discourse was Dr Mahathir's wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali.
Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"