Malaysia — Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been given a week to apologise publicly or face legal action for the `racist grandmother remark he made during the recent state legislative sitting.
State opposition leader Datuk Jahara Hamid said Lim must apologise for everything he said about her as his earlier apology for the label grandmother was not sincere.
I give him a week to apologise openly. This is not a new issue, so one week is enough. Failing which I will consider legal action, she said.
Jahara, the Teluk Air Tawar assembly member, reiterated that it was unprofessional of Lim to label people and engage in name-calling.
Lim accused me of being racist – that I provoked racial propaganda and raised hatred among races; that I was `seribu kali jahat (very mean), that I lied and I was a lying grandmother.
This is a personal attack against me which is serious and affects my dignity as a woman and opposition chief. My statement regarding the issues I highlighted in the House was spun to confuse the people of the real issue, she said.
During the debate on Budget 2014 on Dec 9, Jahara sought answers on the issues of Pulau Jerejak alleged name-change to Mazu Island and alleged discrepancies in the raids between the local council enforcement teams.
She had asked why two stalls belonging to the Malays in Gurney Drive on the island were demolished on Dec 5 without warning.
In contrast, she added four seafood restaurants on reclaimed land allegedly belonging to the Chinese in Pantai Bersih in Butterworth were allowed to continue operation.
She said it was not a racist question, rather one that revolved around the disparity in enforcement.
On Pulau Jerejak, she asked how could a building in a former leprosy centre on the island now housed a Mazu or Goddess of Sea deity.
Following Jaharas statement, Lim called the former, a `racist grandmother after saying that he always thought of her as a typical grandmother but had since become an `unreasonable and racist grandmother.
Having made that remark outside the House, Lim apologised to Jahara via a statement issued to the media the next day for calling her `grandmother.
He however, maintained that she was racist.
Speaking in a press conference today, Jahara said Lim had brought `disrepute to the House by `clamping down on freedom of speech, particularly when Lim himself propagated free speech.
He always talks about freedom of speech and this was inside the House. I was not making a racist statement in the House but merely asking for clarifications. I am not racist and it was not reasonable to call me racist.
“He should analyse the situation in a positive way. Dont simply label people. It is very unprofessional to take part in name-calling.
“It was chauvinistic of him to use my gender as a woman to also comment about my grandmother status, said the 62-year-old grandmother of seven.
She added that it was not right for a person such as Lim who is the chief minister to create labels on someone like her, the state opposition chief.
Her colleagues in the Penang Umno Wanita wing supported her call by asking Lim how he would instead feel if he was called `apek rasis (a racist elderly Chinese uncle).
The wings chief Senator Norliza Abdul Rahim said Lim should have been careful and gender-sensitive not to insult people.
On the issue of Malay stalls being demolished, the DAP Penang government must not practise selective enforcement. We dont want some stalls belonging to a certain race demolished.
It is against the governments competency, accountability and transparency slogan. We always knew Lim was racist and the enforcement incident proved that his decisions failed to benefit Malays and bumiputeras here, she said.
Thus, she urged the DAP disciplinary committee to take action against Lim who is the partys secretary-general for his `racist and sexist remarks.
Lim who is abroad could not be reached for comments.