Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail has not only refused to apologise over his alleged racist remark but has demanded that Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Chinese community leaders apologise to him instead for asking him to express regret.
Ahmad said these leaders, including those in Barisan Nasional, had “blindly” made unnecessary comments to inflame the issue.
“Dr Koh is diverting from his own weakness by claiming that this issue resulted in Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the Permatang Pauh by-election.
“He should accept the fact that the Chinese no longer support him or Gerakan. Therefore, there is no need for him to look for a scapegoat,” he said during a one-hour press conference at Menara Umno here yesterday.
At the press conference, state Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah said Umno’s 13 divisions in the state supported Ahmad’s decision not to apologise over his remark.
Ahmad, who read out his 16-page statement to a room packed with pressmen and Umno supporters, reminded Umno leaders not to be weak and get carried away by taking care of the feelings of others while being insensitive to the feelings of the Malays.
He said he wanted the reporter who reported his alleged remark in a Chinese newspaper to apologise to him, his family, friends, the Malay community and Muslims for “manipulating” his speech at Kampung Pelek on Aug 23 at a ceramah held during the Permatang Pauh by-election.
“I am not denying that I made the statement but I had merely said that the Chinese were squatters in the country then because that is a fact and furthermore, at that point in my speech, I was referring to the pre-Merdeka days,” he said.
It was the reporter who deliberately turned this statement into a racial and sensitive issue, he said.
“I am not going to apologise as I do not owe any apology to anyone on this issue. I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
After the press conference, Ahmad told reporters that even though he respected Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s advice to him to apologise, he had his own principles.