Bersatu assemblyman told to retract ‘chauvinist DAP’ remark at Penang legislative assembly

The DAP logo is pictured at the party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur August 5, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
The DAP logo is pictured at the party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur August 5, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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GEORGE TOWN, Oct 14 — Teluk Bahang assemblyman Zolkifly Md Lazim (Bersatu) was told to retract his remark that the public could have perceived DAP as a ‘chauvinistic Chinese party’ when he was raising an issue on affordable housing.

He said there could have been a perception that the DAP-led state government is a chauvinistic party when the public realised that out of the state’s 6,007 affordable housing units bought by those under 40 years of age, over 3,000 units were bought by the ethnic Chinese while the Malays only owned about 1,000 units.

“I believe that more ethnic Chinese bought the housing units due to affordability, I believe the main issue is about financing problems, I don’t want the perception out there that this DAP state government is a chauvinist because of this,” he said when debating the Supply Bill today.

Zolkifly said the main issue on affordable housing was not only due to the availability of these housing units but also on the affordability of the buyers and their ability to obtain financing.

He then went on to point out that in a sports magazine printed by the state government, there were sports such as wushu, karate, taekwondo and judo but silat was not in it.

“When I raise this, don’t say I am being racist, but silat as a Malay sport was not included and it will lead to a bad perception of the state,” he said.

M. Satees (DAP -Bagan Dalam) had immediately objected by stating that it was wrong to say the state was chauvinist and to racialise sports.

“Why are you turning sports into a racial issue, I too can raise why there is no silambam, why there is no Indian sports, but please don’t turn sports into a racial issue, sports are meant to unite us, not divide us,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah (PKR — Sungai Bakap) then instructed Zolkifly to retract the phrase “chauvinist” in reference to DAP, in which he agreed to retract.

However, he defended his remarks on silat being excluded from the sports magazine to which Sports and youth exco Soon Lip Chee (DAP — Bagan Jermal) then explained that there were several editions of the sports magazine and that silat will be listed in another edition.

Following this, there was a furore as several backbenchers called for Zolkifly to retract his statement claiming silat was sidelined when other “Chinese sports” like wushu were highlighted in the state sports publication.

Dr Amar told Zolkifly that his intention behind the remark on silat was not right, so he had to retract it.

“There was no intention, I was merely pointing out that silat was not mentioned in this book, how do I retract this when it really is not in the book but since the exco has already explained that it is a series with other editions, I accept his explanation,” Zolkifly said.

He refused to retract his statement by insisting that he had no other intention but to point out that silat was not mentioned in the magazine.

Dr Amar finally decided that the state assembly will refer to the minutes on the exact phrase of what Zolkilfy said before making a decision tomorrow.

“Please do not bring race or politics into sports, sports is for all, there is no religion or politics in sports,” Dr Amar said.

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