Youth wings condemn ‘racist’ article, demand action against daily

Written by Yong Min Wei, The Edge    

Several Youth wings from both sides of the political divide have slammed a Malay daily article which allegedly contained seditious remarks and demanded the authorities take action on the publication of articles with racial overtones that could cause disharmony.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said there must be an immediate stop to such articles and that the Youth wing was considering instituting legal proceedings against the Malay daily.

Speaking to The Edge Financial Daily today, he said the article contained innuendos which suggested that members of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) were involved in making the Malay race weak and seen as "cowards".

"We condemn the racist remark which we believe is propagated by Umno-Barisan Nasional," said Shamsul, a lawyer by profession, adding that PKR Youth did not subscribe to Umno's doctrine of Malay supremacy.

Shamsul said it was clear that PR was for all races and promoted racial harmony, noting the article had intended to create chaos and ran contrary to the prime minister's 1Malaysia concept.

He pointed out that the authorities could use the Sedition Act against the publisher and the writer concerned but alleged the current administration resorted to selective prosecution instead.

The Umno-controlled newspaper Utusan Malaysia published an article Tuesday entitled Melayu Jangan Jadi Bacul ("Malays Don't Be Cowards"), which had drawn heavy criticisms especially from opposition leaders.

Meanwhile, Gerakan Youth hit out at Utusan Malaysia for publishing the article which it felt could lead to racial disharmony in the country. The BN component party said all parties should stop making irresponsible statements with racial overtones.

In a statement, Youth chief Lim Si Pin said the article was unwarranted and could stir emotions among the races, besides threatening national unity.

"This type of comment pieces by individual writers also openly contradict and challenge the 1Malaysia concept propagated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak," he said.

Lim also urged the government to be fair and use the same yardstick for all the media on freedom of speech and not to practise double standards.

When contacted, DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) chief Anthony Loke said: "The article is highly racist and seditious and could cause racial tension in the country."

He said the article went to show that the Malay daily's sole agenda was to safeguard Umno's political interest, adding that DAP had been the punching bag of Utusan Malaysia especially after the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

"We (DAP) were accused of going against the Malay institutions when we questioned MACC's interrogation methods," said Loke, adding that the article also suggested that DAP in particular had an agenda in manipulating PR to divide the Malays.

Loke, who is the MP for Rasah, said DAP Negri Sembilan had lodged a police report this afternoon against the daily and the writer over the article.