Malaysia's former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hasn't made any new friends with his most recent comments.

At a book launch yesterday, Dr M was quoted by multiple news sources as saying he had "failed" during his terms as the leader of the country, because Malays are "lazy".

"I spend 22 years trying to change the Malays but I admit I failed. However, there are a few success stories," he said.

"If anyone asks me today, I would have to say Malays are lazy. I like to look people in the face and tell them the truth."

His comments came after the Education Ministry revealed two examination papers for a national primary school test had been leaked, forcing nearly 500,000 pupils to resit the papers on September 30.

He also said, when talking about how someone in a bakery he once managed stole from him, that many Malaysians are dishonest.

"That is the problem with the Malays. They don't have honesty," he stated.

To further illustrate his point, Dr M - who led the nation for 22 years - used the Japanese as an example of people who are ashamed of failure (rather than Malays, who he said are not ashamed enough of failure) but in a strange and roundabout way.

"You see the Japanese, they have a lot of shame, not ashamed of being naked, but shame of failure. If they fail to fulfill a duty, they commit suicide (during the war era)."

His comments have since gone viral and upset numerous Malaysian nationals who are outraged by his opinions.

In this article by the Malay Mail Online's executive editor, Leslie Lau, he says generalisations such as Dr M's comments in a widely public forum are dangerous, and such race-based thinking is what is holding the country back.

"Dr Mahathir was wrong to use such racial stereotypes to make such sweeping generalisations. Even if it is against his own race. Such behaviour is learned. Racism is learned. Lazy thinking like that is learned."

Malaysiakini also questions whether Dr M will be held accountable for his comments, and whether reports will be lodged against him.

Video source: KiniTV