PUTRAJAYA, Oct 1 — The federal Cabinet has agreed that ambassador Dr Huang Huikang should officially explain the remarks he made during a visit to Petaling Street, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, adding that this was to lay to rest claims that the Chinese envoy had intended to interfere in local affairs.
The deputy prime minister and home minister said the Cabinet had in a meeting yesterday unanimously agreed that although the Chinese envoy had already explained himself to Wisma Putra about the incident, Dr Huang should still issue an official statement to end the debate over his controversial remarks.
"The Cabinet was of the opinion that ambassador Dr Huang should come up with an official explanation on the statement he made," The Star Online quoted Zahid as saying.
"This is to correct the perception, which has been given a negative connotation by certain Opposition leaders and their social media,” he added.
Three days ago, Dr Huang met with Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin — currently standing in for Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman — to explain his statement that Beijing would not hesitate to speak out against any threat that may affect the country’s ties with Malaysia.
Dr Huang, who issued the remarks during his walkabout of the area known as Chinatown last Friday, was believed to have been referring to rising ethnic tensions in Malaysia following the September 16 #Merah169 or red shirts rally that saw protesters attempting to breach police barricades outside Petaling Street.
But the Chinese envoy later denied he intended to interfere with Malaysia's affairs, and said his statement was made to help tell the Chinese that they need not fear going to Petaling Street.
Today, Zahid was quick to point out that Huang had contributed much to Sino-Malaysia relations and described him as among the best Chinese envoys to have served the country.
“I deeply appreciate the contributions that he has made in fostering good relations between Malaysia and China,” Zahid was quoted as saying in The Star Online.
During the September 16 gathering, police fired water cannons at protesters attempting to breach a barricade outside Petaling Street.
After the rally, #Merah169 spokesman Datuk Jamal Md Yunos revealed plans for another rally there, and warned of a possible riot it authorities do not take action against the Chinese traders in Petaling Street.
The rally was eventually cancelled after Jamal was arrested over the warning on Friday and later released.