Are the seven million Chinese ‘orang asing’ in Mahathir’s mind?

Yes, methinks.

“Dan orang asing pun membanjiri Negara kita. Tujuh juta orang asing masih berada di sini sekarang ini,” Mahathir said on 6 Sept 2019 — see his tweet below.

Did Mahathir have in mind today’s “seven million” Malaysian Chinese when he said “orang asing [yang] masih berada di sini sekarang ini”?

(Note: The current Chinese population in Malaysia is 6.7 million.)

The ex-PM of 24 years has never made any bones that he considers peninsular non Malays who hadn’t got their citizenship prior to Merdeka as “orang asing”.

But what about present day Chinese who are warganegara Malaysia? Surely they can no longer be themselves considered foreign?

When Mahathir said “Dan orang asing pun membanjiri Negara kita” it was in two possible different contexts of inbound immigration.

One is the situation of workers (and subsequently their descendants) who had been brought in by the British during the colonial era.

In his Twitter thread cum Chedet essay, Mahathir specifically spelled out that these were the Chinese and the Indians.

The second context is the more recent foreign labour – both documented and illegal – here today because Mahathir claims the Malays refuse to do certain kinds of work, ref. “Sehingga sekarang pun orang Melayu masih tidak sedar. Mereka masih enggan bekerja. Orang Melayu masih rela serah segala kerja kepada orang asing.”

Unlike the historical influx where Mahathir pinpointed that the newcomers (from 1800s onwards) were Chinese and Indians, with the newer immigrants, Mahathir refrained from particularizing their ethnicity.

He did not mention that they’re are mostly Bangladeshi, Nepali and Burmese. Actually Indonesians make up the biggest group of immigrants but the Indons are first cousins of the Malay, and thus considered family (not orang asing).

At the time of Mahathir’s statement above in late 2019, legal foreign workers in the country numbered 2,183,400 — according to our Statistics Department 2018 figures.

Here are the 2019 stats:

Malaysia citizens of Chinese ancestry — 6,698,000

Non citizens living in Malaysia — 3,430,380

When Mahathir mentioned “tujuh juta orang asing”, who was he referring to? The 6.7 million Chinese are a closer number to 7m than the 3.4 million non citizens.

The Malay Dignity Congress was held exactly a month later following the Mahathir tweets above.

Mahathir’s address to the congress on 6 Oct 2019 in fact mirrored his tweets. It would not be a stretch to suggest that the controversial event was purposefully organized to bolster Mahathir’s earlier rhetoric.

He said:

“Di zaman belum kita merdeka, pihak British yang memerintah negara kita pada masa itu membawa masuk orang asing dengan ramainya dan Raja-raja kita berpendapat bahawa mereka ini adalah orang asing dan apabila habis tugas mereka, mereka akan kembali ke tanah air mereka, tetapi ini tidak jadi kenyataan. Orang asing berasa selesa dengan negara kita dan mereka ingin tinggal di sini. Nak tak nak pun, kita terpaksa terima, kalau tidak kita tidak akan mencapai kemerdekaan.”

DAP complicit in Mahathir’s Chinese narrative

According to Harakah which carried a fuller report, Ronnie Liu had countered Mahathir, saying: “Kami bukan lagi orang asing” and “Kata-kata macam ini sakitkan hati kami”.

Apart from Ramkarpal Singh, the rest of the DAP top leadership had largely kept silent.

We must remember that in 2019, their Beloved Tun was still the Harapan prime minister.

Hannah Yeoh (pix above) has been one of Mahathir’s most ardent DAP toe lickers, and it paid off with a deputy ministerial post during the 2.0 regime.

Hannah has also been the most vociferous in generally portraying Ronnie as a Chinese chauvinist.


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8 thoughts on “Are the seven million Chinese ‘orang asing’ in Mahathir’s mind?

  1. He is the only one who dares to call a spade, a spade because there is a substance to his claim. He is a political giant whose shoulder everyone is eager to stand on. Congratulation to those who voted him to power for the 2nd time and got the chance to stand on his shoulder. Share with us what you see when standing on his shoulder?

    1. i see a conman, who fully grasp the characteristic of his people that is kind and simple and at the same time naive and foolish, which allow him to propagate and carry out his policies of obscurantism, that enrich his family with wealth that could live like kings for dozen of generation, and power that not even a king dare to challenge.

    2. I see Melaka election as a test bed to know which direction the country is heading in GE15. PH winning shall see the country tilting towards liberalism, bumis in general will become restless. PN winning tilts the balance towards conservatism making liberals restless. BN winning in election means there is a light at the end of tunnel to restore stability, harmonious and peaceful coexistence.

      1. its pretty ironic now bn symbolize moderation and middle way again, though i gotta comfess i start to buy helen and your perspective. but mca still yucks!

  2. It is ridiculous to call that 7 million Malaysian Chinese who are full-fledged Malaysian citizens since 1951, “orang asing” and 64 years after Merdeka. The PM admitted in the Dewan Rakyat that the Malaysian Chinese contribute annually 90% of the Income Tax to the Budget revenue. If some Malaysian Chinese are poor, it is because they never had the opportunity to do better. or access to land. Except for the few odd ones, the majority of the Malaysian Chinese are law-abiding, productive and hard-working. The odd ones are those who hit the headlines either in the politics of conflict unnecessarily with others to create issues or corporate fakes which only involved private sector money. These events are all recorded.

  3. The reason why I always promoted Malay Unity is the fact that the Malays being united under one Leader have nothing to fear from any one, least of all the law abiding, productive and hard working 7 million Malaysian Chinese. To promote Malaysian Unity, I have always said that UMNO should field Mandarin speaking Malays, the younger the better, in Chinese majority constituencies. This opportunity is in the Melaka State Elections to come. Also, the nit-picking by the DAP leaders whom most ignored before May 2018, have reverted back to their old ways for want of issues. Their play these days are on semantics as before and not on principles. Imagine the absurd spectacle of their homeland having only 700,000 Chinese males aged 21-50 compared with the 7 million Malaysian Chinese. Soon, the homeland will be over-run by a sub-continental Power because of the dire lack of Chinese leadership. This is for all to see. Recently, a Singaporean who practised Malaysian culture and habits was parachuted into the once squeaky clean Cabinet. It is obvious to me that his role is to encourage TNB to build a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT in Singapore so that both countries will share the benefits if any. Hence, the media reported that Singapore is keen to buy electricity from Malaysia. THE BEST AND FINEST NUCLEAR PLANT IN ASIA IN WORLD’S BEST SINGAPORE would certainly attract many tourists.

  4. Mahathir is not the only one who thinks the nons are second class citizen. There are many who seek to alleviate their insecurities by stepping on others to prop themselves up. While achievements require certain degree of hardwork, race superiority requires none; just one’s inherited birth right, the low hanging fruit.

    Even the super pro-Najib/BN fb blogger, Apek Cina, had his encounter with a racist recently who shouted at the him to balik wherever he came from when the guy wanted Apek Cina to give up his table for him and wife in a restaurant. The sense of entitlement is telling.

    The BN alliance never had the initiative to address this issue in their over 60 years in power and why should they? The major component parties like UMNO, MCA and MIC were all race-based parties that thrive on racial division to justify their party’s existence. This is what the 95% Chinese was pushing back on with their votes. Each component party fighting for their ‘kind” business model is why the 5% dissenting Chinese voters are lamenting about ramifications, push backs/paybacks and religious zealotry. The 95% did not vote for identity/racial politics, nor subject others to vote out of fear for their security…. it was the 5% that tolerated division politics and voted status quo.

    Remember a certain short video with Mahathir, 2 kids and Sudirman’s Salam Terakhir in the background before PRU 14?

    The video talked about repentance and how an old man, having near the end of his life’s journey wanted to right the wrongs he had done to this country. If Mahathir is anti-Chinese, he sure has no qualms embracing Chinese votes to stage his comeback. Tun M was willing to appear remorseful and apologetic on record.

    Did the 95% that voted PH really buy the old man:s redemption tale hook line and sinker? The nons know they cannot do it on their own and Anwar had always been all talk no show. PH need allies and as long as racists/nationalists lurking in component parties agree to stay true to the PH manifesto, at least baby steps are taken to the right direction.

  5. The number of candidates vying for the 28 seats of the Melaka State Assembly speaks volumes of the state of Malaysian Politics today. First, all think they are as good as any one to be the CM or PM. Second, all have money to take a chance to achieve more through service for the people. Period. Principles ? What’s that ? May I ask ?

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