GEORGE TOWN, Sept 6 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi denied accusing non-Malays of arrogance at a speech at the Umno Bukit Bendera delegate conference yesterday, blaming the reporter from a local paper for the mistake.
“I’ve been called arrogant because I allegedly accused non-Malays of arrogance but it’s not true, I have never accused non-Malays of arrogance,” he said.
“But the reporter from The Sun (who wrote that article). Please brush up on your Malay before you write the news in English,” he said.
He went on to say he had been “looking for the reporter” without success.
“Even though I am the Home Minister and I have the police force under my authority, I will not abuse my power
“So if the reporter has the guts, whether he is a male or female, step out and talk to me. If he made a mistake and retracted and apologised, I will forgive him, if not, I will know what to do,” he warned.
He said the issue had then gone and he was accused of being against other races and religions.
“I am not anti other religions and races. Islam never teaches us to be anti other religions or races,” he said.
He reminded reporters to adhere to their journalistic ethics.
A Malaysiakini reporter, Susan Loone, was detained under the sedition act following reports lodged against her over an article titled “Disoalsiasat selama 4 jam, dakwa dilayan seperti penjenayah (Interrogated for four hours, treated like a criminal)” that was published on Monday.
The article, quoting Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh, reported the conditions experienced by Phee when he was arrested in relation to the crackdown on Penang volunteer patrol unit (PPS) members on Sunday.
“Problems arise when writers with their own portals and those in the social media write whatever they like without thinking how it affects the country,” he said.
“If they are truly liberal and for freedom of speech, then don’t delete those comments that do not support them or that pointed out their faults,” he said.
He warned reporters not to use the online medium to damage the country’s image and told them not to take advantage of Putrajaya’s policy of openness by making slanderous statements.
“If a case is taken against them in court, and if they lose, they will say the court is unfair, if they win, they say court is fair, and if we win, they say the court is unfair and they lobby foreign non-governmental organisations to support them,” he said.
He reminded Malaysians that political reforms should be based on Malaysian culture and not modelled after other countries.