KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 ― Anyone who insults and belittles the Malaysian Armed Forces are “enemies”, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said today as recent remarks by two prominent public figures take on racial undertones.
Better known as Mat Sabu, the minister said Malaysians should stop looking at the issue through racial lenses, The Star reported on its website.
“Don't look at it as a racial issue. How come when a former Sabah chief minister utters insults, netizens do not shout, but when a non-Malay says it, they do. I do not want that.
“For us, whoever insults the armed forces are the enemies of the country and its people,” he was quoted telling reporters at Wisma Pertahanan after launching the Kibar Jalur Gemilang campaign for his ministry.
Mohamad noted the racial divide in public reaction to comments critical of the armed forces by former Sabah chief minister Datuk Harris Salleh and tycoon Koon Yew Yin.
He reiterated that Malaysians were welcome to criticise but not denigrate the armed forces, saying their efforts kept the peace in the country.
“We can criticise but not to the point of insult,” he was quoted saying.
Mohamad also said he would leave police to investigate the controversial remarks made against the armed forces.
In a blog post last Monday, Koon suggested the armed forces to be put to better use farming Felda land instead of “doing nothing except eating and sleeping”. He has since apologised and removed the article.
Harris was reported to have said men soldiers could become security guards while women soldiers could offer their services as domestic helpers.