By Zurairi AR
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today likened the Malay politicians in both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to “political beggars”, saying their scramble to be prime minister has led them to plead for support from the country’s minority races.
The influential Umno veteran pointed out that while these minority groups become more politically powerful, the Malays were becoming increasingly divided by fighting among themselves.
“The majority is split into three, we’re fighting among ourselves,” the former prime minister said here.
“Umno, PAS, PKR all have become beggars.”
He likened the situation to the strife between the Islamic sects of Sunnis and Shiites in the Arabic world, which has resulted in violence and killings.
Dr Mahathir (picture) also compared the disunity to how the Malays were united when they were fighting against the British rule.
“Back then when we were fighting the British, we had political strength. The Malays were united under Umno.
“The British became so afraid seeing Malays united, that they had to drop the Malayan Union.”The former prime minister then insisted that he was not being racist, but conceded that the Malays have yet to catch up in both economic and political fields.
"I want to see if we're able to distribute our country's riches and powers fairly, not that we want to grab others' rights, but we should get what is rightfully ours," he told the crowd.
Dr Mahathir repeated his calls for Malaysians to give BN a new mandate by handing a two-thirds majority to the ruling coalition in the next elections, to ensure a strong government.
He had earlier suggested that if any citizen wishes to revoke the citizenship of any dissident parties in Malaysia, they can only do so by amending the constitution. However, the constitution can only be amended when two-thirds or more of the Parliament agree to the changes.
"If you want to amend the constitution, then you need two-thirds (majority). Furthermore, without the majority we would have a weak government which will be pushed over by the opposition, leading to inappropriate decisions," he told reporters.
Last month, Dr Mahathir warned Malaysians against voting for change, arguing that it will result in a weak government that will hinder economic progress.
He also claimed that the current government headed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak was considered weaker than previous ones. A weak government will in turn have to resort to meeting demands and delivering handouts in order to satisfy all parties, he said.
"When you see a government that is weak, that has only a small majority, then all sorts of criticism and demands will be made against them," he said.
"If there is a strong government, with a two-thirds majority, the government can expect full support from the parliament and from the people as well."