PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has come out in defence of Chinese education group Dong Zong, saying the party does not agree it is racist as claimed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a statement, Lim said Dong Zong has never threatened the rights and security of other Malaysians.
“Instead, Dong Zong respects the Federal Constitution (and the) position of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, while other languages can be freely taught and learnt,” he said.
Earlier, Mahathir again attacked Dong Zong but stopped short of saying whether the government would ban the organisation amid an online petition that has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.
This comes a day after he labelled Dong Zong “racist” after the group launched its own petition to oppose the move to introduce khat lessons in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus next year.
Lim said while everyone has the right to object against what Dong Zong said, the group has the right to freedom of expression.
“Such democratic right of freedom of expression, however, must not threaten punishment or inflict injury on those who have different views,” he said, adding that DAP disagreed with any suggestion to ban Dong Zong.
Lim also said since taking over the reins of the country last year, Mahathir has adopted an open approach to freedom of expression and has even given instructions that no one should be arrested or prosecuted for severely criticising him as prime minister.
“Therefore, DAP believes that the prime minister has no intention of banning Dong Zong,” he added.