GEORGE TOWN: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's political secretary, Zairil Khir Johari, said he felt insulted by the statement by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin that Malay leaders had no place in DAP.
"I worked very hard to get to where I am. What I have achieved was on my own merit. I am very insulted by what he has said," Zairil said.
He said DAP did not look at race, and "plenty of opportunity" had been given to young people such as himself.
"If you are good, you will rise in position. DAP does not discriminate people of diff erent races and religions. Please don't racialise this issue," he said.
Commenting on Khairy's statement following Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim's resignation from DAP, Zairil said any person who showed capability in the party would be duly recognised.
Zairil, 29, is the son of the late Umno stalwart and former education minister Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari.
Rising to the ranks of political secretary after joining DAP in 2010, Zairil, who speaks three languages, is among a handful of young DAP leaders who are frequently spotted at the party's events.
Asked about Khairy's comment alleging hypocrisy in DAP for failing to uphold freedom of speech, he said Tunku Abdul Aziz' dissenting opinion and the party's decision to not take action constituted freedom of speech.
"No action was taken against him although he had a different opinion. That is freedom of speech. Of course, people of every level were upset with him yet action was not taken," he said.