KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub today insisted that he did not play up racial sentiments during a speech he made on the campaign trail in Tanjung Piai which was described as racist and chauvinistic by Umno Youth.
He explained that his speech during a closed-door session with voters at SJK (C) Pei Chio Kukup Laut was misunderstood as a hate speech when he was merely recalling a BN-organised campaign speech in which a PAS speaker labelled Barisan Nasional’s MCA candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng a kafir zimmi (a protected non-Muslim in a Muslim ruled land) and other non-Muslim leaders in Pakatan Harapan as kafir harbi (non-Muslims who are enemies of Islam).
“I want to ask Wee Jeck Seng, is he happy with that kind of statement? This is kafir, that is kafir.
“That was what I was reminding, for speeches like these to be put to a stop because it will cause disharmony.
“We should not put out such statements that contain racist elements and at times, extremist religious speeches,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
Umno’s Datuk Seri Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and Datuk Seri Mahadzir Khalid had earlier today slammed Salahuddin for his remarks, with the party having lodged a police report in Pontian.
However, Salahuddin fired back at his detractors, bringing up Umno’s past racist remarks, including the one made by then Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 1987, preceding Ops Lalang, when various politicians were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
“A few months before Ops Lalang in 1987, Umno Youth led by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made a remark saying “soak the keris with the blood of the Chinese”.
“He never apologised for the speech until he became the Prime Minister and there are also other Umno leaders who said things like ‘let’s bring a match to burn the Chinese shops in Kuala Lumpur’. Some of them are still in Parliament,” he said.