Zahid’s defence of Tajuddin in ashes row ‘ill advised’, says DAP MP

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was ‘playing to the gallery’, says DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh.

PETALING JAYA: A DAP MP today hit out at Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s “ill advised” defence of an Umno politician’s controversial remarks on the holy ash worn by Hindus, accusing him of “playing to the gallery”.

At the Umno general assembly earlier today, Zahid said that Tajuddin Abdul Rahman did not intend to insult any religion when he linked the holy ash worn by Jelutong MP RSN Rayer on his forehead to communist leader Chin Peng’s ashes.

The Umno president also 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.

But Ramkarpal Singh said that If Zahid was sincere about defending Tajuddin, he should have taken part in the debate following the motion to refer Tajuddin to the privileges committee.

Any arguments put forward by Zahid would have been considered, he said.

“Zahid’s failure to defend Tajuddin in Parliament yesterday is telling and his defence of him today at the said assembly is clearly an attempt at playing to the gallery for political gain,” he said in a statement.

Zahid’s defence of Tajuddin today, he said, was “a bit late in the day and ill advised”.

The Bukit Gelugor MP also noted that several BN MPs were absent during the motion to refer Tajuddin to the committee, “which can be construed as a sign that they too do not support or condone Tajuddin’s remarks”.

Separately, Rayer said that Tajuddin had not tendered any “unreserved and unconditional” apology to Hindus in the country.

“I urge Tajuddin to be a gentleman and say sorry to all Hindus in Malaysia who are still very hurt, upset and angered by his remarks in Parliament,” he said.