PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has denied claims by Pakatan Harapan that he played the race card, saying he never once referred to the Chinese when questioning Lim Guan Eng’s appointment as the finance minister at a ceramah.
Earlier, the ruling coalition had accused the former prime minister of playing the race card for singling out Lim “only because he was Chinese”.
“The former prime minister tried to instigate hatred towards the Chinese community by questioning the finance minister’s race,” PH said in a statement.
It said this in response to Najib asking “where was Malay dignity” when the finance minister was from DAP.
But Najib said that if one were to listen carefully to his speech, they would find that he never referred to the Chinese community.
“Nor did I refer to any race for that matter when I made the remark about where was Malay dignity when Lim Guan Eng is the finance minister.”
The Pekan MP then trained his guns on Lim, pointing out that in a speech made on Nov 3 at the DAP Johor convention, the DAP secretary-general said that an MCA victory in the Tanjung Piai by-election may “lead to endorsement of the racist and extremist religious philosophy of both PAS and Umno”.
This included that non-Malays or non-Muslims do not deserve to hold ministerial positions in the Cabinet; vernacular schools teaching mother-tongue languages should be closed down; non-Muslims, especially Christians, cannot gather for their religious prayers; boycotting non-Muslim products and businesses; and labelling non-Muslim and non-Malays who oppose them as “pigs, terrorists and communists”.
Najib went on to say that the late Tan Siew Sin never made such racist statements as Lim had.
This was in response to PH pointing out that Najib’s father, Abdul Razak Hussein — the country’s second prime minister — had retained the former MCA president as a finance minister.
Tan, Najib added, also never described the pact between Umno and PAS as a declaration of war against non-Malays.
In March, Lim was quoted by Malaysiakini, as labelling the Umno-PAS union as a declaration of “war” on non-Malays, adding that the 1Malaysia concept previously championed by Barisan Nasional was now over.
Shortly after, the news portal revised the article and carried an editor’s note saying Lim had corrected his earlier statement which originally used the words “declare war on non-Malays”.
“The ‘rakyat’ can judge for themselves who is really playing the race card.”