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NAWAR FIRDAWS and SEAN AUGUSTIN
MCA publicity bureau deputy chairman Datuk Marco Yap said whether Umno's Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said had referred to 'Penang Chinese' or 'some Penang Chinese' and not Malaysian Chinese 'in general', the damage was already done as Malaysians Chinese as a whole were offended.
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A racist statement is a racist statement, regardless of whether or not the word “some” was said along with it.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua rebuked Permatang Pauh Umno division chairman Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said’s defence over his statement during the party’s annual general assembly last week where he alleged that Penang Chinese acquired their wealth through vice such as gambling and prostitution.
Chua said Zaidi’s defence that his statement was taken out of context and that he was talking only about “some” Chinese, was absurd as either way it was still a racist remark.
“There are some Malays, some Indians, some Iban, and some Kadazan. Why did he only refer to the Chinese? It doesn’t matter whether he was talking about all Chinese or just some of them.
“His whole tone was racist and that was probably why people missed out the word ‘kadang-kadang’ that he claimed to have used. He should just apologise and retract the statement.”
MCA publicity bureau deputy chairman Datuk Marco Yap, in a statement, echoed a similar sentiment and said that the outrage sparked by Zaidi’s racial slur be acknowledged.
Yap argued that whether Zaidi had referred to “Penang Chinese” or “some Penang Chinese” and not Malaysian Chinese “in general”, the damage was already done as Malaysian Chinese as a whole were offended.
He added that there was the inherent perception of the community being sweepingly categorised as gaining wealth and political power through illicit means like prostitution, illegal gambling and entertainment outlets.
Yap pointed to the fact that many Malaysian Chinese have worked long hours, and were either from a low or middle income wage earners who,just like those from other races, were tied by financial commitments as well.
“They certainly do not fall into the ‘rich Chinese’ category whom detractors typecast the Malaysian Chinese as. It is bigoted of anyone to stereotype them as so.”
Yap also called on Zaidi to “zip his lips” and halt plans to search for Penang’s five illegal vice and gambling dens that were operated by Chinese, an act which was a response to a challenge thrown by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He explained that MCA do not want the dare to turn into a form of vigilantism or “witch hunt” against the Chinese community who were operating legitimate businesses.
Meanwhile,MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker advised the public to stop the hate and properly look into the available facts and information.
The people, he said, should not allow themselves to be social media hate messengers by responding to racial or religious slurs by individuals or publications in the media.
“Remember the saying, ‘Rome was not built in a day, but it can be destroyed in a day’.”