Lagi-lagi Melayu Salah

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 (AFP) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday urged ethnic Malays to examine their own flaws because their business acumen and levels of education were poor.

Mahathir said most Malay entrepreneurs tend to blame others, including the government, for failed ventures or their inability to compete with the other communities.

But despite various government incentives, funds and dedicated agencies to help them, their achievements were still dissatifactory, he was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency at a conference.

The government found that most Malay businessmen were only interested in securing projects through issuance of contract tenders, he said.

In education, he said that although the government had set a 60 percent quota in local universities for Malay students, only 20 percent of them were actually eligible to enroll.

While there were calls for adjustment to the education system, Mahathir questioned why ethnic Chinese and Indian students using the same system could score well.

"The truth is Malay students choose not to study hard but to have fun instead. Today ... we have 60 percent Malay students entering universities but only 40 percent passed and none obtained first class honours or second upper at that. Is it the fault of others?" he said.

Malays could only overcome their business and education shortcomings if they examined and corrected their own flaws, he added.

Malays and other races deemed to be indigenous have special rights under the constitution, including business and education priorities under an affirmative action program to narrow the wealth gap with the Chinese.