Distribute wealth fairly — PM

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 15, 2019.
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PUTRAJAYA: Public servants should focus on a fair wealth distribution to ensure peace is maintained in the country, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. There is poverty across all ethnic groups in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir said at his monthly gathering with officials in the Prime Minister’s Department.

As Malays formed the majority of the population, it is generally perceived that the bumiputeras are mainly suffering from poverty, according to him.

“But poverty is happening across all races. Therefore, we should instead focus on poverty among all races. We shouldn’t think our rights are only equal when it comes to voting for government. We don’t want this country to look rich, but wealth is not distributed fairly,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said for further improvements to the country, different ethnic groups should work hand-in-hand as if they are of the same race.

“We find that today, different races are not as united as we had hoped for when we achieved independence. There are still people preferring to relate themselves with their ancestral countries of origin.”

He added that this would deter the country from moving forward. “We are fortunate to have won independence [from the British colonials] without war and riots, except in 1969, but we have learned so much from that, because riots do not bring benefits to any party,” he said.

“That is why the country can be developed faster. We should remember that our society is a multiracial one, which usually faces challenges when it comes to independence.

“But these didn’t happen in Malaysia, because we agreed to give rights to every race. This is the situation in Malaysia now, where different ethnic groups do not see the others as rivals, but instead they jointly work together.”

Therefore, Dr Mahathir urged politicians and political parties to learn from the country’s history to appreciate and preserve the peace and harmony that Malaysia is blessed with.