Wednesday, February 3, 2010
By Adib Zalkapli and G. Manimaran
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s aide Datuk Nasir Safar will tender his resignation after allegedly saying “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies” at a 1 Malaysia seminar in Malacca, comments that undermined the Prime Minister's recent charm offensive.
Nasir had earlier denied the claims, but a statement from the Prime Minister's Department tonight said the senior aide will quit his post.
“The remarks allegedly made by Nasir in Malacca today do not in any way reflect the views of the Prime Minister,” the statement said.
“Nasir never intended to make any derogatory remarks. He spoke at length on the contributions made by all races in developing the country.
“Nevertheless, Nasir apologises for any offence caused ... and in light of this, will tender his resignation.”
The allegation comes at a time when Najib has been working hard to win over the support of non-Malays amid the “Allah” row, which saw attacks on places of worship across the country. It also showed that, despite his intentions, his aides and political operatives have still not embraced his 1 Malaysia concept to bring unity and progress to the country.
“I did not say the word ‘pendatang (immigrant)’. I only said the country has been successful as the Chinese and the Indians from those days until today have been coming here to work,” Nasir told The Malaysian Insider in a telephone interview.
He also dismissed claims that he had threatened to revoke the citizenships of non-Malays who demanded that their rights be respected.
“I did not threaten anyone, and I have never intended to do that. You know I’m very close to MIC people. I only said it is not good for any community to make so much demands as other communities will retaliate,” said Nasir, who used to be a Johor state assemblyman and division chief..
The Malaysian Insider understands that several MCA and MIC leaders walked out of the meeting at the Malacca International Trade Centre after Nasir made the alleged remarks.
The MIC Youth is also planning to lodge a police report against Nasir.
Nasir added he also did not ridicule other languages but only defended the supremacy of the Malay language: “I said Malay language is the national language, there should only be one national language.”
His defence was, however, disputed by those present at the seminar.
An Alor Gajah MIC member, who only wished to be known as Maniam, said he heard clearly Nasir’s threat to revoke citizenships, before he joined others to leave the meeting. “I also heard he said when Umno is facing problems MCA, MIC and Gerakan do not seem concerned,” he told The Malaysian Insider by telephone.
Sources said Nasir also remarked that "Indians in Malaysia have crossed the line. They force the government for 12 subjects in SPM. Don't force the government. We can anytime revoke the citizenship of the Indians in Malaysia."
The senior aide also allegedly said "Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies", touching off the furore and leading to the walkout.
Another local MIC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said he heard Nasir use the word “pendatang”. “He said it was Umno who drafted the (federal) constitution and other parties were not involved,” he said.
He added that they confronted Nasir during tea break but the latter defended himself by saying he was only referring to Hindraf leaders.
The outlawed Hindraf group, which brought 30,000 Indians to the streets in November 2007, have persistently charged Umno with sidelining the community.
Malaccca Barisan Nasional (BN) component party leaders are also planning to handover a memorandum to Najib when the coalition chairman visits Malacca this Thursday.
Meanwhile, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has condemned Nasir’s remark and called for action to be taken under the Sedition Act.
“Although the remark does not reflect the government’s or the prime minister’s stand, but it has hurt the feelings of the Malaysian Indian community,” he said.
“MIC condemns the colonial attitude of this person for degrading the Malaysian Indians and we demand that this person be punished under the Sedition Act, and MIC will lodge a police report against this person. If it is proven that this person has uttered [the] seditious remark, action must be taken against him,” Samy told The Malaysian Insider.
DAP leader Lim Kit Siang challenged members of the Najib administration to raise the matter at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting.
“Will ministers put Nasir Safar on the mat at Cabinet meeting tomorow? Najib’s 1 Malaysia getting very torn and tattered,” he wrote in his @limkitsiang twitter microblogging account.
Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow said Nasir should also apolgise openly for his statement despite his resignation.
“Gerakan wants him to apologise,” he told The Malaysian Insider, adding non-Malays have always been reminded not to question the social contract but this time it was perpetrated by someone from the community.
Posted by aizley shahar at 1:45 AM
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