Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gerakan’ s Tan must clarify her statement, says PM


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Wanita Gerakan Head Datuk Tan Lian Hoe must make a clarification on her statement concerning a sensitive racial issue. Abdullah, who is also the Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman, said the clarification was crucial so as to avoid misinterpretation on her statement made at the. opening of the 21st Delegates Conference of the Gerakan Wanita and Youth movements on Friday. “It is good to give her an opportunity to explain what she actually meant and let us all understand so that there is no longer any ambiguity on the matter,” he told reporters after attending the closing of the Merdeka Spirit Programme 2008 and launching of the Nationhood Academy at the National Civics Bureau in Jalan Bellamy, here yesterday. Abdullah said at the moment, no one could say that action would be taken against Tan before the actual matter was known. He said this when commenting on the statement by Tan which reminded everyone not to forget the history of their origins besides claiming that the origins of all races in the country were the same. Tan, who is also Deputy Information Minister, was also said to have disputed the status of the Malays as the original inhabitants of this country in a programme produced by a pay TV station recently. “I also wish to remind that we should not play up racial sentiments merely to gain popularity. After 50 years of independence, the time has come for us to stop resorting to racial issues for political gains,” Abdullah said. Meanwhile, when asked on the controversy over the Eurocopter purchase to replace the Nun helicopters by the Defence Ministry, Abdullah, who is also the Defence Minister, said he needed to get clarification from the Secretary-General of the Ministry before making any statement on the matter to avoid confusion. Earlier this month, Mentari Services Sdn Bhd chairman Capt (Rtd) Zahar Hashim claimed that the tender process for the Eurocopter which was made during the tenure of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as Defence Minister was a “gimmick as it favoured one company.” - Bernama