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Sunday, 01 July 2018 - 16:20
Dr. Mahathir's earnest plea from young Malaysians
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Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad wants Malaysia's young citizens to forget racial origins and think of themselves as "pure Malaysians".
 
In an interview with a television channel, Dr. Mahathir was asked what he could promise millennials about the Malaysia they will be living in in the years to come.
 
"(Malaysia is) not only multiracial, it is multilingual, multi-religious, multicultural," he said.
 
"Despite the differences, we still live together, more or less at peace with each other (but) of course, there are little conflicts ... and I think this is what they are going to inherit."
 
He said Malaysians "have to learn to understand each other".
 
"And to forget - slowly forget the racial origins and think of themselves as pure Malaysians."
 
Ethnic Malays like Dr Mahathir and indigenous people make up close to 70 percent of the population with almost a quarter of the country Chinese. The rest are Indians as well as from other ethnic groups.
 
Verbal tensions have flared on occasion but actual altercations have been rare, with the last major race riots in 1969.
 
Malaysia had, however, been governed by the largely race-based Barisan Nasional coalition since independence but this ended on May 9 this year, when Pakatan Harapan won the elections for the first time. 
 
Dr. Mahathir had been part of BN's component party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) himself, but then left to form Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia - also primarily for ethnic Malays but with associate membership opened up to others. The remaining parties in his new coalition are not race-based.
 
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