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Sunday, 16 June, 2002, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Mahathir criticises Malay community

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, has launched a strong attack on the majority Malay community, saying it had failed to make real progress despite being given special privileges for more than 30 years.

In a newspaper interview ahead of a five-day meeting of his party the United Malays National Organisation or Umno, Dr Mahathir criticised Malays for being too complacent and unwilling to work hard.

He said that after more than 20 years in office he had failed to change what he called this culture of extravagance.

Malays make up more than half of the 23 million population but receive special privileges because the Chinese minority is seen as having disproportionate wealth.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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