How can senior citizen Ibrahim Ali be a Malaysian and be ignorant of the Chinese culture?
Tawau MP Chua Soon Bui said Ibrahim had offended and insulted the Chinese community when he handed ang pau in white packets which is reserved for funerals instead of the traditional red.
She said Ibrahim’s apology cannot undo the damage and insult to the Chinese community.
“It is unbelievable, he (Ibrahim) as a senior citizen born in Malaysia, a mixed cultural society, and he chose to be ignorant of the culture of the Chinese which is the second biggest community in Malaysia,” she said yesterday.
The MP said it was unbelievable that Ibrahim, known for his militant defence of the Malay community, did not know he was offending the Chinese community by his gesture.
“Ibrahim should know that even Bank Islam’s ang pau packet is red and showed that the bank acknowledged that Chinese New Year festivities played a prominent role in Malaysian culture every year.
“Even village children in Sabah know ang pau packets are red in colour. He chose to be blind on the white packet,” she said noting that the media was awash with advertisements emphasizing red as the colour of the festival.
The incident, she said, clearly showed that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Vision 2020 of a united Malaysia was superficial as polarization still exist in West Malaysia.
“It clearly revealed that in West Malaysia, cultural traditions of different races are not understood.
“I am sad that senior citizens that came to the Perkasa Chinese New Year open house were humiliated with the white packet which are meant for the dead,” she added.
“After 54 years of independence, Malaysia is still a long way from becoming an integrated country, so how will the government achieve 1Malaysia,” she said of current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s oft repeated slogan.