KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — International Medical University (IMU) student Kiren Raj who was criticised for controversial comments on social media on the death of local actress and singer Emily Kong has publicly apologised over the matter.

The Star reported that Kiren read out a statement apologising to Kong’s family members, the public and IMU, and retracted his comments during a press conference at Wisma MCA today.

“The comments I posted were not directed at any individual and meant no harm. The comments were my imagination in nature. Upon realising (this), I removed my comments as soon as possible.

“I am deeply remorseful that my comments offended many netizens. I would never do anything like this again,” he said, adding that his comments were not about Kong personally.

The 26-year-old final year student also said he did not want to cause friction in Malaysia and did not mean to make derogatory comments against women.

“Sometimes we say things that are not appropriate and we should be responsible and apologise. We should learn to re-evaluate ourselves and better ourselves,” said Kiren.

Kiren said he has been receiving counselling over the matter, which has been helpful.

The controversy began when Kiren posted a comment on The Star’s Facebook page about Kong’s death on March 9, saying the accident could have been avoided if she did not leave a pub alone, despite no mention of her prior location or activity.

“Condolences.. I hope all the girls learn a good lesson now.. Never leave the pub without a guy.

Man and woman work together... We offer you a safe drive home and you give us makeout or sex.. I mean girls like sex too right… This is what happens when women think they can do everything on their own and be independent. Every woman need men,” he said in the offending comment.

Kiren later also insulted the size of Chinese men’s private parts and remarked about a “plan” to push Chinese out of the country, which caused Gerakan Youth to lodge a police report.

His comments drew public backlash while a Change.org online petition calling for him to be barred from becoming a doctor was also launched and received more than 70,000 signatures.

IMU on March 12 said it issued Kiren a show-cause letter and instructed him to be on home leave for two weeks.

A formal disciplinary hearing is underway, with IMU saying that it is providing medical evaluation and behavioural counselling to the student.

Kiren said he has not been called by police yet.