Zaid: PM must apologise over May 13 reference

Sean Augustin,

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says Datuk Seri Najib Razak should apologise for references to the May 13 tragedy made at the recent Umno general assembly.

Zaid said that claims the 1969 racial riots would recur if Umno lost the next general election or if it returned with a weak majority was uncalled for and made him ‘sick to his bones’.
He said Najib – the prime minister and Umno president – should distance himself from such statements, which he feels were outright threats, immediately.
As prime minister for all Malaysians, Najib should apologise to the nation for the inflammatory statements made by the delegates of the party he leads, said Zahid.
“No one should capitalise on a national tragedy for the reprehensible purpose of exploiting emotions ahead of the coming election.
“I hope Malaysians-and especially Malays-will find this statement repulsive and punish Umno accordingly,” the lawyer turned politician wrote in his blog,
The May 13th spectre is often resurrected by politicians and right wing groups, especially in response to what they perceive as threats to the rights of Malays.
While racial rhetoric was largely absent at the Umno general assembly, Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil had mentioned May 13, in her written opening speech, when discussing the fate of the Malays if the party under performed in the coming general election.
That part of the speech however was not read.  
Sharizat however later defended her remarks saying she did not commit any wrong and flayed the media for lacking professionalism.
Zaid, in his blog, also wondered why Najib led the ‘virulent attack’ against liberalism which he defined as a  political philosophy founded on the principles of freedom, liberty and equality. 
Liberalism, he said, supported the free-market economy, the individual’s right to ownership of property, free and democratic elections as the foundation of government, freedom of religion and basic human rights.
“The constitution of the Federation of Malaysia was founded on these principles, and our proclamation of independence contained the words ‘liberty, freedom and justice for all.’ So, why are the prime minister and his followers in Umno attacking the constitution and the core values of this country?” he asked.