MCA condemns Dr Mahathir calling the Chinese a ‘wealthy lot’

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KUALA LUMPUR The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) has expressed outrage at a statement by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that the Chinese are a "wealthy lot" and it was "unhealthy" that they lived in urban areas.

Party president Wee Ka Siong said the former prime minister had not updated himself with the statistics of wealth distribution among the ethnic groups in Malaysia.

He said there were enough recent reports to show that the Chinese, at all levels of income, had already declined.

"I am not sure if Dr Mahathir is pretending not to know, or whether he is merely playing the racial card," he said.

In an interview with the Hong Kong-based Asia Times, Dr Mahathir said Malaysian Chinese were a "wealthy lot", with the majority of them living in urban centres, and this represented an "unhealthy trend".

Dr Wee said many ordinary Chinese were struggling to keep their jobs.

He said each day, tens of thousands of Chinese Malaysians crossed over to Singapore to work.

"These are ordinary wage earners who go to work there to earn an honest living, and are certainly not wealthy. The pasar malam stallholders and the smallholders in plantations are not rich either," he said.

Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia president Goh Tian Chuan said no one should spread such a misleading narrative.

"It is deeply regretful that all these years, the community had to endure such unfair and discriminatory remarks... hurled at them by unscrupulous politicians looking for political mileage at the expense of racial unity and harmony."

In an earlier development, Dr Mahathir said he decided to back the chief minister of Sabah as candidate to lead the country.

"I fully support this proposal (for Mr Shafie Apdal to be prime minister)," Dr Mahathir said on Saturday.

But that drew a sharp response from Sarawak deputy chief minister James Jemut Masing. The Parti Rakyat Sarawak president said it is shameful to fish for votes from Sabah and Sarawak MPs.

"I know that Shafie is a good and capable leader, but do not take Sabahans and Sarawakians for fools by proposing him as the PM...There is no way Malaysian voters would accept it. I ask Dr Mahathir to stop playing politics and get real for once." - THE STAR, REUTERS