THE THIRD FORCE
Back in the late fifties, Dr Mahathir Mohamad confided in the late Tunku Abdullah bin Tuanku Abdul Rahman that the Indians were “a troublesome and quarrelsome race” that “did not have much of a future in Malaya.” Back then, the former premier did not mind being called a “mixed breed,” provided that UMNO recognised the then premier, Tunku Abdul Rahman, as being of Thai ancestry.
However, when Mahathir became Prime Minister, things changed.
Barely had he cozied into his new role, he began sidelining the Indian community by placing more emphasis on the Chinese instead. Rumour had it that the Kedah doctor, born to the family of Mohamad bin Iskandar Kutty (pic below), did not want to let the public know about his Keralan ancestry. Not only was he silent about it, there was even an “unwritten code” in Barisan National that no one was to ever speak of it.
But that was then.
Today, Mahathir is no longer the Prime Minister. Because of this, he has no qualms letting the Indians peek into his conscience to discover his anti-Indian, anti-Keralan persona. That explains why he referred to the Indians as Kelings when speaking to a ‘Save Malaysia’ rally just last year. Mahathir probably feels that the Indians are the same “troublesome and quarrelsome race” he spoke of to Tunku Abdullah back in the late fifties.
And yet, the opposition is calling Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi a racist for invoking Mahathir’s Keralan ancestry. Have their leaders forgotten the gaiety of their laughter when Mahathir referred to the Indians as Kelings in their presence?