Dr M: Malays reluctant to work hard, willing to give up jobs to foreigners

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said history has shown that the Malays in the past preferred to earn monthly income and work on small farms or become fishermen, with not many going into business or hard labour. Source (pic): TTF Files

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Malays need to realise that their complacency and reluctance to work hard are the reasons why foreign workers flood the country to seek employment.

Dr Mahathir recalled his younger days in Alor Star during the British era where the weekly market, Pekan Rabu, saw villagers gathering to sell their produce and handicrafts.

“Their business did not become big. They did their business on part time basis. They don’t have the desire to expand their business, just to eke out a living, that’s it,” he said.

Dr Mahathir added that seven million foreigners were in the country for work.

“What will happen to the Malays? Clearly, what happened to the Malays and the country in the past will happen again. Some people claimed that the Malays are masters (tuan). But, masters of what? Of poverty, incapability dependency on others, masters of these?” he asked.


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malays need to realise that their complacency and reluctance to work hard are the reasons why foreign workers flood the country to seek employment.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said history has shown that the Malays in the past preferred to earn monthly income and work on small farms or become fishermen, with not many going into business or hard labour.

As a result, he said there were not many Malays living in the cities to run businesses.


Dr Mahathir recalled his younger days in Alor Star during the British era where the weekly market, Pekan Rabu, saw villagers gathering to sell their produce and handicrafts.

“Their business did not become big. They did their business on part time basis. They don’t have the desire to expand their business, just to eke out a living, that’s it,” he said.

He also wrote that at the time, when he was a teenager, towns were built and filled with Chinese shops. There were no Malay shops. There were some Indian food and spice shops.

“The Malay rulers then did not recognise the Chinese and Indians as citizens. They believed that these people will return to their home countries when their services were no longer needed,” he said in a posting entitled ‘Not Working’ on his blog, Chedet.

He said the Chinese would usually migrate to other countries if they know there’s work opportunities, including to the United States, Australia and other British colonies.

“The stability of the British government and the availability of job opportunities drew people to the Malay States. They were willing to work hard. They were willing to take on dirty, difficult and dangerous work.

“The Malays were happy because dirty, difficult and dangerous work were done by the foreigners. They were not concerned with the foreigners’ wealth and prosperity.

“They believed that this country would remain theirs,” he said, adding as a result, they were not willing to work hard and run businesses seriously which had kept them poor.

“The disparity between them and other races who were hard-working and running businesses widened. As a result, the rich became richer and the poor Malays were getting poorer.

“The Malays should realise what is happening to them. Unfortunately, they are still oblivious and this continues until today. They are still reluctant to work. They are willing to give up their jobs to the foreigners. Because of this, the foreigners have flooded our country,” he commented.

Dr Mahathir added that seven million foreigners were in the country for work.

“What will happen to the Malays? Clearly, what happened to the Malays and the country in the past will happen again. Some people claimed that the Malays are masters (tuan). But, masters of what? Of poverty, incapability dependency on others, masters of these?” he asked.

He advised the Malays to change their mindset to determine their own fate.

“Being angry with the others will not solve our problems. Our people are increasing, but a great number of poor people will not be able to compete with a small number of rich people.”

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