An anti-crime activist has hit out at Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for saying that the secret society, Tiga Line, were his friends.
PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should resign and join the secret society Tiga Line for having a soft spot for the gang, said Peoples Welfare and Rights Organisation (Power) president S Gobikrishnan.
At a government forum in Malacca on Saturday, Zahid said Tiga Line members were not thugs because they get-together during kenduri (big gathering) and at big projects.
This was revealed in a 20-minute speech recorded by a participant of the forum which was closed to reporters half way through Zahid speech.
The home minister said Tiga Line were his friends and “urging them to do what they needed to do.”
Zahid said in jest that Umno supreme council candidate Shahidan Kassim as the biggest Tiga Line gangster during the function.
In August, the Home Ministry revealed the list of 49 illegal secret societies, including Tiga Line, consisting of Malays.
Gobikrishnan said Zahid’s remarks was a political stunt for the Umno vice-presidential elections and could be a tactic to gain more Malay support to clinch an easy win against his rivals.
However, he said the Zahid’s “shoot-first” policy to tackle serious crime should be used to bring down the real thugs.
The anti-crime activist added that Zahid had insulted his own race by stating that Malays were the biggest patron of internet gambling, drugs and prostitution.
Proving to be a Malay hero
Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (MIPAS) secretary-general S Barathidasan slammed Zahid for making such insensitive statements just to gain political mileage and was unfit to be a minister.
Barathidasan said the home minister was trying to be a Malay hero before the Umno elections.
He said Tiga Line was a secret society and questioned why Zahid was saying the gang members were not thugs.
“Is he rallying to gain support from Tiga Line members for his Umno vice-presidential elections?” asked Barathidasan.
He said during the Mahathir era, the home ministers were more decent and better mannered but not anymore under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
“It looks like Najib has lost control of the ministers,” he said.
Suaram says sack Zahid
Meanwhile Suaram coordinator R Thevarajan said the government should establish a special inquiry to investigate the personnel behind the Tiga Line gang, their connections with Umno and the home minister, apart from sacking Zahid from his ministerial post.
Thevarajan also hit out at Zahid for coming across as a racist in the meeting as he was seen instigating his Umno audience with racist imputations by stereotyping gangsters and crimes, attributing the gangs to be headed by Chinese, the operators to be Indians and the victims to be Malays.
“Such ignorant and bigoted prejudices show that Zahid is not only unfit to be a minister but should be dealt with under the law for his rabid racism,” he said.
He also said that Zahid, by claiming that the police had been told to implement the ‘shoot-first’ policy, had only confirmed what Suaram had been saying for years – that the police are trigger happy.
In the meeting, Zahid had allegedly that “if there was enough evidence, the police would shoot first”.
“This gaffe by the Home Minister calls for a complete overhaul of the standard operating procedure of the Malaysian police force before more people are shot dead.
“It is indeed a sad day as while the prime minister pays lip service to reform and transformation, we have a Home Minister who secretly supports gangsters, who is a rabid racist and who does not understand the meaning of the rule of law,” added Thevarajan.
He said that Najib should immediately sack Zahid as Home Minister.
Heading towards lawlessness
In another development, MCA too waded into this issue with its vice president Gan Ping Sieu saying that Zahid’s ‘shoot first’ policy would only send out a wrong signal that Malaysia was a country without a rule of law.
“The remark made by the Home Minister is uncalled for, and Zahid has earlier assured members of the public that police are colour blind, but his latest remark, if not read out of context, is most unbecoming. Crime and law enforcement have nothing to do with colour,” said Gan in a statement.
“It is the fundamental duty of any government to provide a safe living environment. It is about law and order. Tough on crime is necessary. But no law enforcement can ever be justified on ethnic grounds,” he added.
The MCA leader also criticised Zahid for purportedly justifying the use of deadly force based on ethnicity.