Mahathir displays his xenophobic thinking

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 March, 1996, 12:00am

I WRITE with regard to recent statements made by the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad regarding the desire of Australia and New Zealand to integrate into the Asian region.

Both countries have made great strides in trying to blend into the region, they are happy to open their markets to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) goods and are among the leading positive voices standing up for the region.

Yet time and again Dr Mahathir insists Australia and New Zealand do not belong in the Asian region. I don't know what he is a doctor of but it isn't geography that's for sure. Are Australia and New Zealand in Europe? No.

Are they in North or South America? Not the last time I looked.

Are they in the Asian part of the world? They are, 100 per cent.

Dr Mahathir is keen to have the Japanese in the group and insists the murders, the rapes, the colonisation and destruction they carried out in the region should be forgotten.

At the same time he ignores the sacrifices made by Australians, New Zealanders and others of white skin who died liberating his country.

Isn't it time to remember those who sacrificed their lives for your country, Dr Mahathir, or is the true reason for refusing entry to the elite ASEAN club because of the predominant skin colour of the Australian and New Zealand citizens? Dr Mahathir may think of himself as a statesman, but to be so he will have to let go of his personal prejudices.

Australia and New Zealand will join the ASEAN club. It may take some time but their people and leaders are mature and flexible, unlike some of their bull-headed Asian counterparts.