PETALING JAYA: MIC Youth chief Sivarraajh Chandran is demanding a public apology from former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad for using the word “keling”, as shown in a 25-second video clip that made the rounds on social media yesterday.
“The word is hated by Indians because when others use it to address us, it carries a very insulting meaning. Mahathir should make a public apology for the use of such a derogatory word,” he said in a press statement.
‘Keling’ was commonly used in colonial times to describe people from the Indian subcontinent and derives from the name Kalinga. Since the 1960s it has been used in a derogatory sense.
Sivarraajh said the youth wing strongly condemned Dr Mahathir’s use of this derogatory word. “because as a former prime minister, he should be the last one to use such word against Indians” with its connotations of a “dirty, dark and violent people”.
In the clip, Mahathir is seen disparaging Prime Minister Najib Razak’s handling of the Islamic State terrorist network, sarcastically saying: “On Najib fighting IS, we can see Najib holding a rifle to fight IS. What do the keling say, ‘podah’ (get lost). All lies.”
Sivarraajh compared the use of “keling” to other derogatory words such as pariah and nigger.
He said Mahathir appeared to be well aware of what he was saying. “In Mahathir’s speech, he did not only mention the word ‘keling’, but cracked a joke by using a Tamil word.
“This shows that he was well aware of what he was saying and was openly offending the Indians,” Sivarraajh said, “Now, we know how the Indians suffered under his 22-year rule…as he sees Indians as illiterate, uncivilized and barbaric.”
The video clip is believed to have been recorded at a ‘Save Malaysia’ event in May.