By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The DAP today called Datuk Seri Najib Razak “uncharitable and small-minded” for questioning Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham’s sincerity when he apologised for asking if Muslims were wasting their “time and energy” protesting the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng pointed out that Ngeh’s apology and retraction yesterday had proven that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders were more gracious and willing to admit to their mistakes or shortcomings, unlike the politicians in Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN).
“If even a retraction and apology by Ngeh (picture) can be considered insincere by the prime minister, what about BN leaders who refused to apologise for their own racist and abusive remarks against Muslims and non-Malays?” Lim said in a statement.
“Najib should not be uncharitable at heart or even small-minded for questioning the sincerity of the apology.”
Ngeh had yesterday retracted and apologised to Muslims for the controversial Twitter message he had posted recently, asking if the worldwide protests against the “Innocence of Muslims” film were a waste of “time and energy”.
The Beruas MP had said in a statement that he had not meant to hurt any Muslim or intended to belittle the Islamic faith with the offending message on the microblogging site.
But in his immediate response, Najib said Ngeh’s sincerity was questionable, pointing out that an individual should not make such derogatory remarks and only apologise after his words angered others.
“If it is that easy, we can also pass remarks, insult and ridicule other religions and later apologise,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in The Star today.
But Lim told Najib to look at his own members in BN before passing any judgment against Ngeh, pointing out that many of those in the ruling pact who made offensive statments in the past had not found it necessary to apologise later.
The Penang chief minister cited the example of Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, whom he said had spread lies about his son when he claimed that the young boy had molested a “non-existent” female classmate.
“Despite such a shameless act that is clearly false, Khairy, who calls himself a father, has never apologised to my son.
“How can a person with such low morals as to bully an underaged boy consider himself fit to be a father to his two sons?” Lim asked.
The Bagan MP also fingered Umno vice-president and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi for insulting non-Muslims when he reportedly blamed their alleged lack of patriotism for the low percentage of non-Malay recruitment in the armed forces.
“Such a statement was grossly uncalled for and denigrates the loyal service of thousands of non-Malay servicemen who have over the years risked and at times given their lives for the country,” he said.
Lim added that MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was also guilty of issuing offensive remarks, saying that the leader had accused PAS’s female candidate Normala Sudirman of being “anti-Chinese” when she purportedly refused to shake the hands of non-Muslim men during the Tenang by-election.
Lim pointed out that this was Normala’s personal choice as a Muslim not to directly touch the hand of a man, saying that she did the same with Muslim men as well.
“By not offering any apology in all the above cases, and in many more, it is clear that the BN practices double standards.
“It would appear that even when they do wrong, they can do no wrong,” he said.