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Malays in the country were “frozen” and no longer dared speak up for their rights for fear of being called “racists”.

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SHAH ALAM — Azmin Ali branded today Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a “Malay racist” for casting aspersions on Putrajaya’s move to recognise over 70 diploma courses offered at the Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC).

Yesterday, the former prime minister told Umno-owned Mingguan Malaysia that Malays in the country were “frozen” and no longer dared speak up for their rights for fear of being called “racists”.

“The former prime minister is a Malay racist. Why is he using education as a racial weapon?” the Bukit Antarabangsa state lawmaker raised on the first day of the Selangor legislative assembly here today.

Azmin then dared MCA, which had helped to establish the college, to state its stand on Dr Mahathir’s statement.

The PM of 22 years was also reported by Utusan Malaysia’s weekend edition as saying that Malays now only cared for themselves and stayed silent even when others had breached the so-called “social contract” among the three main races at the country’s Independence over 50 years ago.

“I think we are frozen and no longer reply for fear of being accused as racist. We do not even reply to demands that breach past agreements. In fact, they have increased their demands,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by Mingguan Malaysia in an interview published yesterday.

“Before, only public universities were involved in granting diplomas for jobs, but now we have to accept even diplomas from the Tunku Abdul Rahman College,” he was quoted further.

But the MCA assemblyman for Kuala Kubu Baru, Wong Koon Mun, countered Azmin’s statement by saying Dr Mahathir’s remarks did not reflect Barisan Nasional’s stand as the ex-premier was no longer in government.

“Who is the prime minister? This statement is by the former prime minister; it does not represent the official statement of our country’s leader,” Wong said.

On june 27, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA) would retrospectively recognise over 70 diplomas and higher diplomas offered since the mid 1990s by TARC, which had been established as a private higher learning institution since 1969.

The recognition enables TARC graduates, who now number over 160,000, to apply for public service jobs immediately a move many, including the federal Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, have lauded as long overdue.

TARC, which is owned by MCA and named after the country’s founding father, is also seeking to upgrade its current status to be recognised as a university-college. – The Malaysian Insider