KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Nov 2008: Wanita Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe clarified today she had neither insulted the Malays nor questioned their rights in a speech on 10 Oct which she said was misconstrued as such.
The deputy minister of information told a news conference at the party’s national headquarters here that Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had clarified the matter at a meeting of the Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council on 16 Oct.
She said she met Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week to give an explanation.
Tan said the message contained in her speech at the Wanita Gerakan assembly was to remind political leaders or NGOs not to politicise racial issues because Malaysia was a multiracial country and such actions would undermine the country’s unity.
She claimed that certain quarters had only focused on a single aspect of her speech and taken it out of context.
“I never questioned Malay rights or insulted anyone. The speech was taken out of context. I highlighted that we should not politicise or question historical facts or take racial issues to garner public support or votes.
“Leaders have a mandate from the rakyat (people) and we must fight for the rights of the rakyat,” she said.
Tan also said that Wanita Gerakan would organise inter-cultural visits amongst the many ethnic groups in the country and cultural programmes such as traditional dances to instil an interest, especially among the youth, to learn and respect each other’s differences.
She said Wanita Gerakan also planned to organise activities which would generate more awareness amongst women in terms of business.
“We will organise a roadshow to inform women on credit facilities not only from financial institutions but also from government agencies and ministries. Our plan is to let them know that there is infrastructure in place to aid them in terms of trade and entrepreneurship.
“We will also organise trade missions and cooperate with the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, Finance Ministry, International Trade and Industry Ministry to teach and train these women in terms of marketing, pricing, packaging and more,” said Tan. — Bernama