Malaysian Chinese Association calls for open-mindedness after Mahathir’s chopsticks remark, SE Asia News & Top Stories

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The outdated worldview and narrow thinking expressed by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in his new book cannot undermine the country’s race relations, said Secretary-General of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Chong Péché Woon.

Datuk Chong urged all Malaysians not to be easily swayed by the words of the former prime minister.

“Instead, let us commit to being more open-minded, progressive and accepting the cultures of others so that we can together build a more united Malaysia.

“We do not want to see Malaysia’s precious multiracial ties strained by her new book and her remarks, which propagate racial divide and extremism,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mr. Chong noted that Malaysians should discuss nation-building from a progressive and diverse perspective.

During a book launch on Sunday (December 12), Tun Dr Mahathir spoke about the continued use of chopsticks by the Chinese community in Malaysia.

“The Chinese eat with chopsticks, they don’t eat with their hands. They haven’t adopted the Malaysian way of eating.

“They have kept the wand, which is an identity of China, not Malaysia, and many other things,” he reportedly said.

Mr. Chong said that the MCA has made every effort to protect and preserve cultural diversity and the rights of each ethnic group, including the freedom to learn one’s mother tongue as provided for by the Federal Constitution, as well as the principles in vigor of moderation, freedom and democracy.

As the former prime minister who ruled the country and achieved economic success during his tenure in the 1990s, Dr Mahathir has had his fair share of contributions and failures, Chong said.

“And yet, after so many years, he is still unable to break free from the extreme racial mindset.

“At 96, one would expect Tun Mahathir to have a more seasoned outlook and come up with wiser approaches to current affairs.

“Unfortunately, the nonagenarian remains unchanged in his old ways, still bitter and critical of the specificities of the ethnicity and cultures of others,” he said.

MCA vice-chairman Tan Teik Cheng also criticized Dr Mahathir’s remarks, saying that the narrow and racist values ​​of the member for Langkawi “have no place in Malaysia’s multicultural society.”

“Despite being fully aware of Malaysia’s multiracial makeup and having served as our country’s prime minister twice, Dr Mahathir remains passionate about fostering differences in the ethnic culture, language and way of life of the rakyat. as a political capital.

“How ironic and contradictory it is from a disposition expected from Malaysia’s top political figure,” he said in a statement.

Datuk Tan said Dr Mahathir’s remarks betrayed his preference for assimilation of other ethnic groups.

“Undermining national unity and stoking racial feelings by agitating against each other, in this regard, taking the example of eating with hands rather than eating with chopsticks is not Malaysian and unhealthy”, a- he declared.

Whether Malaysian Chinese eat with their hands, chopsticks, forks, spoons or knives, Tan said their Malaysian identity and citizenship cannot be changed or denied.

Another former prime minister, Najib Razak, took to his Facebook page to launch a jibe against Dr Mahathir, posting an old photo of the 96-year-old using chopsticks to throw yusheng.

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