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Lian Cheng and Karen Bong
BINTULU, Dec 1: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly admitted that the party was “racist”, as it is only set up for natives (peribumi).
However, non-natives are allowed to join the party as associate members, said the prime minister.
“We know that Parti Pribumi (Bersatu) is a racist party, and that the party is only open for ‘peribumi’ including Malays but this does not mean that we make enemies out of other parties – those multiracial parties such as DAP, Amanah and PKR,” he said at the launch of Bersatu Sarawak at the civic centre here on Saturday evening.
Dr Mahathir explained the reason to set up a party solely for the natives was because only indigenous groups could understand their plight, thus fighting better for the community.
“Why is this party only for peribumi? Because we understand that the natives are still feeling unease about their ways of living, their development, their roles in the country’s politics.
“Because of that, they are still in the opinion that only a peribumi party can fight and protect their rights, but this does not mean they are against non-natives but they believe a fellow native can understand their problems more and this is why we set up a party only for the peribumi.”
Touching on Sarawak Budget 2019, which totalled RM11 billion, Dr Mahathir said such a budget had shown that Sarawak was the richest state in Malaysia.
However, he pointed out that when the state was rich, the people should be rich as well.
“If the money is not shared with the people, then the people will be poor, while the state is rich. This is not what Sarawakians want to see.
“Because of that, we believe if we can play a role in politics, then we can decide how the wealth should be spent and life can be better,” he said.
On the condition of schools in Sarawak, Dr Mahathir said many in the rural areas were in dire straits could be due to negligence of the elected represenatives. The size of Sarawak is not neccessarily the contributing factor.
“Perhaps Sarawak is too big or perhaps the previous elected representatives could not see far. Even though they are the local representative of their areas but they did not visit their own constituency. Because of that, there are schools, I was told, were so broken,” Dr Mahathir opined.
He said they was a proposal to the federal government to install water supply and electricity in all schools but expressed disappointment on cases where money had been embezzled and stolen.
“So the goodness of the federal government could not be enjoyed by the people,” he said without further elaboration. — DayakDaily