In the 1970s, Mandarin was promoted over other Chinese dialects. SAP Schools were created to provide Mandarin among the Chinese. This resulted in some Malays feeling that they were alienated. The reference to Confucian society by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew marked a shift in policy of neutral multiculturalism to Chinese-dominated society. Chinese schools began receiving government aids while other schools were neglected.
The former Prime Minister had once sparked a debate on the loyalty of the Malays to Singapore. He stated that the Malays might have conflict when it comes to loyalty. Earlier, former Indonesian President Habibie's alleged that the Singaporean armed force discriminate against the Malays. The Singaporean government has been cautious in issue of Malay loyalty. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is a supporter of this policy. For the same reason, the Malays have been nearly absent from armed force scholarship list. Incumbent Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned that it is unlikely for a Malay or an ethnic minority to be elected as Prime Minister soon (as of 2008).