KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today defended Tajuddin Abdul Rahman over his remarks on the holy ash worn by Hindus, just days after urging MPs to steer clear of making sensitive remarks about other faiths following the stir in the Dewan Rakyat.
He said he sympathised with the Pasir Salak MP, who was suspended for two days and referred to Parliament’s rights and privileges committee for insulting the Hindu community.
He also said Tajuddin had apologised and retracted his comments.
“He did not wish to insult any religion, but was only saying not to venerate Chin Peng’s ashes.
“The reality is that Chin Peng was the leader of a terrorist communist group that killed people,” he said in his speech at the party’s general assembly here today.
Tajuddin was suspended from the Dewan Rakyat after repeatedly asking if Jelutong MP RSN Rayer was wearing Chin Peng’s ashes on his forehead.
When instructed to leave the hall, he laughed and proposed a longer suspension period of four days instead.
The motion to refer him to the rights and privileges committee was passed in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
In his speech today, Zahid also said the Muafakat Nasional initiative would not make use of back-door avenues to form a new government through negotiations with political leaders.
He said the alliance would take over Putrajaya from Pakatan Harapan through formal means, upholding the principles of democracy.
“Through Muafakat Nasional, we will not dream of a change of government through the back door.
“Even if the back and front doors are wide open, we will still choose to go through the front door,” he said.
He added that Muafakat Nasional presents a “new deal” for Malaysians, and invited political parties in Sabah and Sarawak to join forces with the alliance in a bid to shape a “new political narrative”.
Over 3,000 Umno delegates flooded the Putra World Trade Centre here for the party’s annual general assembly today which was also attended by former prime minister Najib Razak, MCA president Wee Ka Siong, MIC president SA Vigneswaran and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
This is the first time a PAS president has attended the Umno gathering which comes nearly two months after the country’s biggest Malay-Muslim parties formalised their political cooperation.
Hadi’s deputy Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man attended the meeting last year.