by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
PARTI Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) will adhere to all the liberal policies and privileges that Malaysia accords the non-Malays, while it will strive to elevate the Malays closer to the economic level of the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese.
Its chairman and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said in addition to that, a Pejuang-dominated government will uphold democratic principles and the rule of laws.
“It will reject and outlaw all kinds of power abuse and corruption by the government. It will practice good governance with the objective of making Malaysia a developed country by 2030 or earlier.
“This is our pledge. Supporting Pejuang is supporting Malaysia and Malaysians. While the Malays can hope to catch up, the others will not lose their places and opportunities,” he said in a statement yesterday.
According to him, ever since independence Malaysia has been ruled by multiracial but predominantly Malay governments. The Malays form the backbone of the governments simply because they make up the majority of the citizens of the country.
However, the Malay-dominated governments had accorded the non-Malays certain rights which other multi racial countries do not allow, Dr Mahathir said.
He added that the other races were allowed to retain their identification with their countries of origin, languages and cultures, schools, non-governmental organisations and civil organisations, chambers of commerce, associations, assembly halls, sporting teams and clubs.
“There is no requirement to assimilate with the indigenous Malays and other bumiputras. The official language is Malay but except in official documents, other languages can be spoken and used in private communication, newspapers, radio and television and the alternative media.
“By the same token, Islam is the official religion but other religions can be adhered to and practiced in any language. The only requirement is that all Malays must be Muslims and conversion to other religions is prohibited,” he added.
Dr Mahathir stressed that by any standard the Malaysian liberalism towards non-Malays is unprecedented.
“There is also very little conflict between the peoples of different races. Malaysia is much more stable and peaceful than many other multiracial countries or even single-ethnic countries in the world,” he said.