- Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim ticked off Umno leaders who have recently hit the headlines with outrageous comments that were clearly racist in nature.
"Now I have said on the 31st of August when I called for for dialogue the issue of racism and religious bigotry is paramount and since then it has gotten worse. The Umno election is not about governance or the welfare of the Malays but about the race card," an incensed Anwar told a press conference on Wednesday.
"Why blame the Chinese or the Opposition? Who squandered the funds, who squandered timber land, who squandered billions of contracts for their families and cronies? Who are the richest Malays? These are the family members of the umno leaders. Who managed to get the Petronas contracts, the big contracts? Why blame the Chinese or the Opposition or whoever? Why can't we learn to work together and deal with this amicably?"
Anwar had been asked on whether he felt Umno leaders such as Home Minister Zahid Hamidi and former Malacca chief minister Ali Rustam had overplayed their hand in criticizing and blaming the Chinese for an assortment of ills plaguing the country including escalating crime, and for Ali Rustam, even the loss of his Batul Katil parliamentary seat.
The outrageous comments of the two Umno leaders who are both vying to make the cut as vice presidents in the October 19 Umno election have triggered a backlash of negative publicity for the country as well as stirring up deep resentment and anger amongst the minorities.
The well-respected NGO is the latest to join the chorus of calls spearheaded by Malaysian activists demanding that Prime Minister Najib Razak removed Zahid from the Cabinet, and to chastise Ali Rustam for his blatantly racist comments.
Ambiga, who is one of Malaysia's most prominent civil society leaders, was referring to the Chinese and Indian component parties in Najib's ruling BN coalition.
In his speech, Zahid had also controversially admitted that the police had a 'shoot-first' policy and did not need to warn their suspects as the victims of these criminals were "mostly our Malays".
"Zahid should get some basic training in basic law. Yes, the police have a right to defend themselves but to shoot first without warning is totally different," said Anwar.
"I am speechless at what the Home Minister said in Malacca. It shows he has no understanding of, or respect for the rule of law. He is supporting police who are trigger happy. I am very disturbed by the shocking racism and racial profiling in his speech which portrayed Malays as victims of all crimes and non-Malays as the perpetrators,"Ambiga had also told