Managing racial sensitivities most difficult part of being PM - Dr M
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the most difficult part about his job is managing the sensitivities of the nation's different races.
He also emphasised the need to be careful with words and actions in order not to trample on these sensitivities.
The 94-year-old leader shared his thoughts in a video released in conjunction with the 62nd Merdeka celebrations. The clip showed him surrounded by seven teenagers in the pristine background of a Putrajaya park.
Addressing questions from the teenagers, Mahathir takes them through a brief history lesson in the course of the four-minute video entitled “Apabila Dr Mahathir ditanya mengenai Merdeka (When Dr M is asked about Merdeka).”
Asked why it was important to celebrate Merdeka, Mahathir said it is because Malaysians have won the right to determine their own fate and choose their own leaders.
“This is different from the colonial era where we had no say in the country's administration. We had no voice. Everything was decided by the colonial rulers and decided in terms of their own interests, not ours,” he added.
As for the hardest part of being the prime minister, Mahathir said it is avoiding hurting the sensitivities of racial groups.
“Our country is made up of different races. We have to be careful that what we do and what we say dos not lead to any racist feelings between the communities.
“What we do, what we say must not lead to any racist feelings emerging,” he added.
Recalling the first Merdeka Day in 1957, Mahathir told the teenagers that it was an exciting moment which was celebrated by all.
"We are truly independent nowadays. While the people may be influenced by different foreign ideas, they still retain their Malaysian character,” he said.
Mahathir urged the teenagers to keep themselves informed about what is happening Malaysia and to be aware of its character as a multiracial nation.
After posing for a photograph with the teenagers, the prime minister walked off into the distance as if to symbolise that the future is in their hands.