Friday, June 29, 2012

Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, warns Barisan members against making racist remarks

As reported by the Star on 30 June 2012

Barisan Nasional members have been warned not to utter racially sensitive remarks that could cause tension among the people.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, also the Barisan chief, said members were also told to refrain from making statements that could cause friction among component party members.

Najib's advice appears to have been directed at Sri Gading MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Aziz, who made a controversial remark about Bersih co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga in the Dewan Rakyat recently.

Najib said this after he chaired a Barisan council meeting, attended by all component party leaders, at its headquarters here on Friday.

The meeting, he said, discussed Barisan's recent programmes and activities in all the states.

"We spoke about the encouraging response from the people during visits to the states and districts by myself and the DPM.

“This shows that the people's confidence towards Barisan has been growing steadily," he said, adding that it was just "a routine meeting.”

Sri Gading MP retracts his statement about Ambiga

Meanwhile, Datuk Mohamad Aziz (BN - Sri Gading) has retracted his statement that questioned whether Bersih co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga should be hanged.

"I am a disciplined citizen. I withdraw my statement if it has offended my Indian friends such as those in the MIC and PPP," he said in the Dewan Rakyat after Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told him to do so.

Mohamad said the DAP had used his statement to stir up racial sentiments for political mileage.

"They are experts at spinning. I respect my voters who are of Indian descent," he said.

Mohamad went on to call the DAP a racist party, citing the tussle in Kampung Buah Pala involving the Indian community as an example of its racist moves.

Lim Guan Eng (DAP - Bagan) later told reporters at the Parliament lobby that he had asked the deputy speaker to make a ruling against Mohamad's statement, which he claimed was rude, seditious and used the King's name in vain.

"The deputy speaker told him to retract the statement, which he did," he said.

Earlier, Mohamad told a press conference that his remark in the Dewan was not racist, as claimed by the DAP.

Instead, he said he had merely asked whether Ambiga should be considered a traitor to the King and be punished by hanging.

"Perhaps the DAP does not understand the Malay language and that is why they did not know that my statement was actually a question," he said.

Mohamad said the DAP had played up racial sentiments and dragged the Indian community into the fray as he had not mentioned the community in his remark.

Asked if he would apologise for his statement, he said: "I do not need to say I'm sorry because I did not do any wrong. My statement was not an accusation. It was a question."

According to the Dewan Rakyat Hansard, Mohamad had said on Tuesday, "Apakah Ambiga tidak boleh kita anggap penderhaka kepada Duli Yang Maha Mulia Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan hukum gantung kepada dia?" (Can we consider Ambiga as a traitor to the Duli Yang Maha Mulia Yang di-Pertuan Agong and punish her by hanging?).

Lim had claimed that Mohamad's statement was racist and threatening in nature as it was directed towards an Indian and Hindu woman.

The BN has said that the statement was Mohamad Aziz's personal opinion and not that of BN official stand.

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