Dr M: I call my friends keling, what’s the problem?

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad, criticised for using a racial epithet, said today that people who could not stand being called by nasty names should stay out of politics.

The MIC’s treasurer-general, S Vell Paari, had criticised Dr Mahathir for using the term “Keling” in speech at a fund-raising event last night

Mahathir said it was a word he had used since his younger days. “That is how I refer to my friends, and they don’t have a problem with that. Why is MIC angry over this?” he said.

Mahathir had used the word when criticising the Election Commission and was reported to have said “I want to use a ‘keling’ word. The ‘keling’ say podah (get lost)”.

Vell Paari said everyone was aware that the word used was derogatory for the Indian community and that Mahathir’s use of the word was proof of his disdain for Indian Malaysians.

At today’s fundraising event, Mahathir said people who went into politics would be “exposing yourself to be called nasty names”.

“All these nasty names will become your new names. People who are unable to stand being called these nasty names should stay out of politics,” he said.

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