PM: Government will not tolerate anyone making racist remarks

By Florence A. Samy and Teh Eng Hock, TheStar

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has warned the people against spreading “half-truths” on racial issues and said the Government has zero tolerance of racist remarks.

“We are aware of some SMSes that have been going around, (in which the content) is not accurate and is intended to raise (racial) sentiments,” he said.

Najib emphasised that action would be taken against those who made remarks that were racist in nature and unlawful, and also against those who vandalised places of worship such as churches or surau.

“Let’s not have people who spin the issue racially, as if we practise selective prosecution,” he said after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting at PWTC here yesterday evening.

Earlier in the day, Najib said the Government had zero tolerance for racist remarks by anyone.

“Our stand is not to tolerate racist remarks by anyone. Unity is very important as part of our nation building,” Najib said during a dialogue session with youths at the Barisan Nasional Youth Lab programme here.

Najib, however, added that alleged racist remarks must first be investigated before action was taken.

He was responding to concerns from the floor of recent racially-based remarks made by two school principals against the Chinese and Indian communities.

Barisan Youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin presented the Youth Lab report. More than 7,500 youths had been engaged in formulating the ideas since March.

On calls to amend the Internal Security Act (ISA) to ensure it was not abused, Najib said the days of “scare politics” or using the ISA to wield power and show that one was in full control were gone.

He also agreed to the lab’s suggestion for a special 1Malaysia Fund to support youth programmes that encouraged inter-racial relationships and also supported the idea of having have minimum wage for certain sectors.

To a question on press freedom, Najib said the media had more latitude today and was given more space.

But he said they must be very careful in their reports to ensure the truth was not twisted and racial flames were not ignited.

On his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib said some were out to “divide” them although they were “one government.”