PETALING JAYA: Is calling someone a “pendatang’ a racist remark? Gerakan thinks so and a Johor delegate to its national conference yesterday has to bear the brunt.
During the conference, party president Mah Siew Keong said he was against racism and would come down hard on anyone in the party showing racist tendencies.
During the debate on the president’s policy speech, Johore delegate Tan Lai Soon said, “Let me make the positions of Malaysians clear: Malays, Chinese and Indians are all pendatang. The Orang Asli, Sabahans and Sarawakians are the original bumiputera.”
For the remark, Gerakan today suspended Tan’s membership, issued a show-cause letter and asked him to explain his position within 14 days.
At a press conference, Gerakan deputy president Cheah Soon Hai said: “We apologise on behalf of the party to all Malaysians who have been hurt by his remark. He should go back and ask what is the feeling of his Malay neighbours.”
Cheah said Gerakan was a “party for all races” and Tan’s statement did not reflect its stand.
“It is not the party’s stand; we are all Malaysians and no Malaysian is a pendatang or an immigrant,” Cheah said.
As of yesterday, at least 14 members had lodged complaints to the party against Tan’s remark, added Cheah.
Pertubuhan Pembela Islam (Pembela), a coalition of 52 Malay-Muslim groups, said Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong should sack Tan.
Together with Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) and Pejuang Islam Melayu Malaysia (Pewaris), they went to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur this morning, demanding that Tan be hauled up under the Sedition Act.