According to Najib, the government is willing to help Malays advance in other countries where they are a minority.
He said this when opening the the Malay World Muslim World (DMDI) forum’s ninth convention on 23 December, reports Malaysiakini.
The deputy premier said ethnic Malays in the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Cambodia, South Africa and southern Thailand could be assisted.
What would have been the reaction if the deputy premier of India and the vice premier of China had offered to help the ethnic Indians and ethnic Chinese respectively in the various countries of South-East Asia? Wouldn’t the governments of this region have asked them to butt out, citing foreign interference in domestic affairs?
Najib’s statement is outrageous given that the plight of the poor at home: the struggling lower-income group of all ethnic groups, including the Malays, the non-Muslim bumiputera and Indians in this country. Then there are the Orang Asli poor… And what about the plight of one the most marginalised groups in the country, the Penan, about a thouand of whom will now have to make way for the Murum Dam in Sarawak? Let’s also not forget refugees, stateless people, and exploited migrant workers on our shores. How about lending them a helping hand?
Najib would be better off focusing on the small matter of a recession that is about to shake the country like never before. Thousands are expected to lose their jobs.
He should also be defending the right of all Malaysians to move freely in the country; he seems to have had little to say about PKR MP Gobalakrishnan, a Malaysian citizen, being denied entry into Sarawak.
The deputy premier’s comments on lending a helping hand abroad should be juxtaposed against MP Dr Jeyakumar’s observations about poverty in our backyard:
38 per cent of Malaysian families have a monthly household income of less than RM2,000. I believe that RM2,000 should be used as the poverty line and not the current unrealistic standard of RM720 per month for a family with three children. Only 5 per cent of Malaysian families have a monthly household income of less than RM720.
The second significant point is that the prevalence of poverty among non-Malay bumiputera groups is much higher than that of the Malay community – 25.8 per cent of Kadazan families and 35.8 per cent of Orang Asli families receive household incomes of less than RM1,000 compared to 9.9 per cent of Malay families. Numerically, however, Malays still make up a huge majority of the poor in Malaysia because of their population size.