Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Husni talks up unity, mum about ‘racial’ remark

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah reaffirmed the 1 Malaysia concept and spoke about unity today while ignoring opposition claims that he uttered “racially-laden” remarks in Penang last week.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang expressed yesterday that Husni (picture), whom he had perceived to be rational and reasonable, was reported to have said: “Kalau orang Cina di Pulau Pinang buli kita, kita lawan balik orang Cina (If Penang Chinese bully us, we fight back the Chinese)” at Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce dinner last Friday.

In his speech at a GST conference today, Husni touched on the importance of national unity and shared personal experiences in the US and of his son.

He said that when he went to the US, he saw the US national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" being played at nearly all functions and Americans of all races would stand up in a show of American solidarity.

“No matter what their race, they stand tall and stand together,” he said. “This is what our prime minister wants.”

He also said that he was very happy that his son shares his ice-cream with his friends of different races at school.

“I see how my son would eat some of his ice-cream and then pass the ice-cream to his Chinese and Indian friends,” said Husni. “He likes to mix and does not sit with only Malay friends. My son celebrates the different races and he will stand tall.”

“I went to a biotech conference once and was told this is the most suitable country to conduct clinical trials for drugs as we can test the drugs on different races and not just one race,” he added.

“Malays, Chinese and Indians constitute 40 per cent of the global population. You can see the potential of what God has given us. The prime minister says that we must not just tolerate each other but celebrate each other.”

The second finance minister did not give a press conference after his speech but sources close to the minister said that his remarks in Penang were likely to have been taken out of context.

Sources say that Husni, known to be a proponent of meritocracy and economic competitiveness from his previous speeches, was responding impatiently to complaints by the Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce that Malays were “being bullied” by DAP in Penang and he was telling them to respond by working harder and being more competitive.

They also say that the minister was not referring to the Chinese in general but to DAP.

Husni also touched on the need for Malaysians to embrace change due to the more competitive global environment and added that positions should be obtained based on merit and capabilities.

“We used to get batik from Malaysia and Indonesia but now we are getting silk batik from China for a low price,” he said. “We have to move up the economic value chain.”

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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