Bung Moktar raises global media’s eyebrows with Hitler salute

A screen capture of Datuk Bung Moktar Radin's twitter page showing his tweet after Germany trashed Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup 2014 semi-final.
A screen capture of Datuk Bung Moktar Radin's twitter page showing his tweet after Germany trashed Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup 2014 semi-final.

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — After causing outrage here for saluting Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in his praise of the German World Cup team, Barisan Nasional (BN) MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin is now making waves in the international media.

The federal lawmaker’s offensive Twitter posting has made headlines in a number of well-known foreign publications such as UK’s BBC and Daily Mail and US’s The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, to name a few.

In The Washington Post, foreign affairs writer Adam Taylor said: “Celebrating a man who died almost 70 years ago for his country winning a sporting event would be odd at the best of times: Few people invoke Franklin D. Roosevelt when the US team wins a game, for example.

“Of course, Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany and one of the great scourges of history, is a special case.”

The writer even took note of reports that said Bung Moktar has a reputation for issuing such offensive remarks, posting links to previous articles where the lawmaker was quoted insulting other politicians.

Taylor said that Bung Moktar had once called a rival a “big monkey” during a parliamentary debate and that he also has “some very interesting thoughts about female drivers”.

In a 2008 parliamentary sitting, Bung Moktar famously labelled the now-deceased DAP chairman Karpal Singh a “big monkey”.

In a 2011 sitting, he reportedly called most women drivers slow and said they pay little attention while on the road.

“When you honk at them, they get agitated with some even showing hand gestures to other drivers,” he was quoted saying in The Star, according to the link Taylor posted.

In The Huffington Post, Bung Moktar’s Hitler tweet was labelled as “very inappropriate”.

MP Ong Kian Ming sent a list of links to foreign websites where Bung Moktar earned headlines to the local press today and demanded that Putrajaya censure the lawmaker for bringing disrepute to Malaysia with his remarks.

“Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) should ask Bung Moktar to apologize for his tweet and his defence of his tweet, to resign as a member of the Umno central committee and as the MP for Kinabatangan,” he said in a statement here.

Ong pointed out that in many other nations, politicians have resigned for issuing racist or bigoted statements.

He said, however, that Bung Moktar was unlikely to relinquish his posts as the politician had showed anything but contrition when he was lambasted on social media for his Hitler remark.

But Najib should censure the Umno leader, Ong said, in order to prove that he is a prime minister who values Malaysia’s international reputation and that of his own party.

In the euphoria following Germany’s thrashing of Brazil during the World Cup semi-finals yesterday, Bung Moktar tweeted a salute to Hitler and drew a flurry of criticism from other Twitters users. An unrepentant Bung then heaped abuse on them.

“Well done… Bravo… Long live Hitler…” the federal lawmaker posted on the microblogging site via the Twitter handle @MyKinabatangan.

He later claimed the tweet was made in jest, and that he was commending the German team for “fighting like” Hitler.

Austrian-born Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945, and was at the centre of World War II.

Hitler was also behind the Holocaust, the mass extermination and execution of millions of European Jews in concentration camps.

Germany’s ambassador to Malaysia Holger Michael had objected to Bung’s salute of Hitler in his praise for the country’s performance in the World Cup, saying the comparison was “unacceptable”.

In a statement emailed to The Malay Mail Online, Michael said: “While we appreciate the admiration for the German football team, we strongly reject the unacceptable allusion to the fascist regime of Adolf Hitler,” the ambassador said in a statement.”

But Bung Moktar stuck to his guns, insisting on his Twitter page later that that the ambassador “doesn’t get it”.

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