SHAH ALAM • Malaysian Chinese are not "pendatang" (immigrants) but are "sons of Malaysia" who have contributed to the nation's development and growth, Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday.
"You have done your part. You were born here and you grew up here, when you die your ashes will be scattered here," Datuk Seri Najib said in a speech at a delegates' conference of Parti Gerakan yesterday. Gerakan is one of the 13 component parties of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition led by Umno.
His comments are in contrast to those made by Malay right-wing groups and even some members of his Umno party recently that the minority Chinese are "immigrants" that should not push for political equality with the Bumiputeras.
Said Mr Najib: "As far as I'm concerned, the Malaysian Chinese have contributed a lot to the development of Malaysia, to the growth of Malaysia."
The Premier also touched on an issue close to the heart of the Chinese, saying the Chinese-language schools "are here to stay", in a pushback against intermittent calls for these institutions to be closed or merged with Malay-language national schools.
He said Malaysia is the only Southeast Asian country that has Chinese education, "so as much as you can complain, you cannot deny the benefit".
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK