Gerakan suspends delegate over remark

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KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan has suspended the membership of its Johor delegate who created a furore by claiming at the party’s national delegates’ conference on Sunday that Malays are also “pendatang” (immigrants).

Deputy president Datuk Dr Cheah Soon Hai said Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon’s suspension was with immediate effect and what Tan had said was not the party’s stand.

He said Gerakan is a party of all races and that no Malaysian is a pendatang.

On Sunday, Tan told the party conference that with the exception of the Orang Asli and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, everyone else was considered “pendatang”.

“When Umno members say the Chinese are ‘pendatang’, they obviously forgot that they were also ‘pendatang’ from Indonesia,” he said at the Setia City Convention Centre in Setia Alam, Selangor.

Yesterday morning a coalition of Malay NGOs called Pertubuhan Pembela Islam (Pembela) lodged a police report at the Dang Wangi police station over the issue.

Pembela vice-chairman Aminuddin Yahaya said the NGOs were asking Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to charge Tan under the Sedition Act 1948.

“Pembela condemns the seditious statement which has given rise to a tense situation and triggered anger among Malays.

“It has also indirectly insulted the position of the Malay rulers,” he told reporters after making the police report.

Pembela comprises 82 Malay rights groups, including Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia or Isma, Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia or PPIM and ProMuslim.

Cheah said it was not only Malay NGOs that were upset with Tan’s remarks, party members had also lodged complaints over the remark by Tan in his speech.

He said Gerakan had sent Tan a show-cause letter and had given him two weeks to explain his position.

“We apologise on behalf of the party to all Malaysians who have been hurt by his remark,” Cheah said. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 21, 2014.