KUALA LUMPUR: "I am Malay first," said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, adding that did not mean he was less Malaysian.
"How can I say I'm Malaysian first and Malay second, all the Malays will shun me and say it's no proper?" said Muhyiddin in response to a challenge by Lim Kit Siang (Ipoh Timur-DAP) who had asked him (Muhyiddin) to resign as the DPM unless he professed to being a Malaysian first, Malay second.
Annoyed by Lim's remark, Muhyiddin repeated: "I am Malay first! But being Malay does not mean you are not Malaysian. It is not a race issue. It's an understanding of the term gagasan. I don't think Kit Siang understands what the word gagasan mean."
(Gagasan translates as "idea", "notion" or "concept".)
He also said that Lim had the intention to drive a wedge between him and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"We will not fall for it nor be distracted (by it). He is looking for reasons to stir us up," he said after chairing a meeting with the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) in parliament on Wednesday, March 31.
Muhyiddin said the question of 1Malaysia should not be brought up, as when a leader talked about the interest of his own race, it did not mean that he or she did not support 1Malaysia.
"1Malaysia is based on the Constitution. There is nothing wrong in leaders fighting for their own race. It doesn't mean that when we help the Malays, we won't help the Chinese. Don't tell me Kit Siang does not fight for the Chinese," said Muhyiddin, adding that it was Lim who failed to support 1Malaysia because he (Lim) supports the Middle Malaysia concept by DAP.
"Middle Malaysia is only supported by DAP, not Pakatan Rakyat. I challenge Kit Siang to prove that PKR and PAS also support Middle Malaysia.
"Look at Barisan Nasional, 13 component parties of different races and all believing in the message of 1Malaysia. His (Kit Siang's) party is a chauvinist party," said Muhyiddin, reiterating that he supports 1Malaysia.