PETALING JAYA, May 8th- Newly elected Padang Serai MP N Surendran has denounced Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for backing Utusan Malaysia’s frontpage lead today, which netizens and opposition figures have described as racially charged.
Surendran accused the Umno-owned newspaper and BN of attempting to cause fear among Chinese Malaysians.
Critics say the Utusan headline—which translates as “What else do the Chinese want?”—was an attempt to portray the election as a Chinese-vs-Malay vote.
At a press conference this morning, Najib appeared to be defending Utusan when responding to a reporter who suggested that the paper’s tendency to harp on race issues might be standing in his way of achieving the national reconciliation that he spoke of on Sunday night.
Najib responded by saying: “You blame Utusan, but you don’t ask about the Chinese papers.”
According to news reports, MIC vice president M Saravanan has also accused the Chinese of being ungrateful for what the BN government had done for them.
Surendran, a PKR vice president and a lawyer, told FMT that Utusan had exposed itself to court action and urged the police to investigate it for “creating racial disharmony in the nation”.
“It is a criminal racial statement by Utusan and it is being backed by the Prime Minister and the MIC leader,” he said.
“BN knows that they’ve cheated in the election,” he said. “Hence they are playing up racial issues. They are trying to instil fear in the minds of the Chinese.”
Surendran said Najib and Saravan deserved the condemnation of all peace loving Malaysians.
“It is totally unfair to accuse the Chinese community of being ungrateful as even the urban Malays and Indians voted against the BN coalition.”
Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was re-elected for the Lembah Pantai parliament seat, said on Twitter that she was “appalled” by the Utusan front page. “I stand with all right thinking Malaysians against racial provocation,” she wrote.
Klang MP Charles Santiago also tweeted about the issue. “It’s not Chinese tsunami,” he wrote. “It is Malaysian tsunami against corruption and tyranny. Stop justifying everything on race basis.”