Mahathir vs Trump: Can Malaysians please make up their minds?

“When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad echoed what Malaysian Muslims once said in 2017, telling Trump that he needed to resign and all, everyone is no longer about Trump being anti-Islam but about Mahathir being anti-America. Can Malaysians please make up their minds?”

Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen

محضير ۏس ترومڤ: رعيت مليسيا تق كونساستن

When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, many Malaysians grumbled that the US was racist and positively anti-Islam.

The anti-Trump sentiment was felt all across the social media here – in the US, there were many recorded incidents of racism and anti-Semitic violence, many of which drew directly on rhetoric and proposals of the then President-elect.

In November 2016 New York, weeks prior to Trump’s inauguration, Swastikas were drawn on several doors in a residence hall at the New School in New York City. Three Jewish women lived in a suite where one of the swastikas was drawn, according to a tweet from one of the students who lived there.

Trump’s victory was regarded to be a stunning upset by most observers, seeing that polls had consistently showcased his competition, Hillary Clinton, as being in the lead.

It was quite the bitter pill to swallow, as many of the immigration policies he proposed during his campaign trail made for bitter and contentious debates across the board.

He promised to build a more substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants and vowed Mexico would pay for it, blaming the Mexicans for many of the social ills suffered by America.

That immediately rang alarm bells among political circles across the divide. Many felt that the move was as good as America telling the world, “yes, we’re racist, so keep out.”

But it wasn’t until Trump pledged to deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States that American Muslims began to worry.


Many were anxious that Trump was Islamophobic and would not hesitate to either deport legal Muslim migrants at a moment’s notice or prevent more from settling in America.

In April 2019, Trump posted an edited video before suggesting that US congresswoman Ilhan Omar  was dismissive of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

Some called Trump’s move Islamophobic and an “incitement” to violence against the Somali-American politician, while others said it put her “life in danger”.

During his 2016 campaign, he falsely alleged that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated as the Twin Towers went down.

On the 27th of December 2017, leading Muslim activist Ibrahim Hooper said Muslims in America were more vulnerable to bigotry and Islamophobia as a result of  Trump’s behaviour and actions than they were after the 9/11 attacks.

All this seemed to piss the hell out of Malaysian Muslims.

Then, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad echoes what these very Muslims said in 2017, telling Trump that he needed to resign and all, everyone is no longer about Trump being anti-Islam but about Mahathir being anti-America.

Can Malaysians please make up their minds?

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