PETALING JAYA: The citizenship of non-Malays in the country should never be questioned, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
A provision in the Federal Constitution clearly stated that the Malays were the indigenous people of the country while the non-Malays had rights to citizenship, he said.
“That should not be questioned. The Constitution provides that you cannot take away citizenships,” he told reporters after opening the Malaysian Liver Foundation building at Ara Damansara here yesterday.
The former prime minister was asked to comment on alleged racist remarks made by Datuk Nasir Safar, a special officer to the Prime Minister, during a 1Malaysia seminar in Malacca.
“It is a very bad statement to make. Even if it is true, we don’t say things like that. They are in fact, the children of the people who came here. They have not just arrived,” said Dr Mahathir.
Johor Umno information chief Datuk Samsol Bahari Jamali said Nasir’s remarks did not reflect the views of Umno in any way.
He said Johor Umno always looked at ways to get everyone to work together and not hurt anyone’s feelings.
“I am shocked to hear it. He never struck me as a racist,” he said when contacted.
MIC vice-president Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the immediate action taken by Najib indicated his seriousness and commitment in ensuring the success of the 1Malaysia policy.
“This should act as a deterent to ensure that similar statements are not repeated by any quarters,” he said in a statement.
Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said the alleged racist remarks had aggravated the already high political tension in the country
Meanwhile, non-governmental organisation Perkasa came to Nasir’s defence.
Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said the remarks would have been harsher had it come from him (Ibrahim).
He said he understood why Nasir had made that statement.
Kelab Belia Graduan 1Malaysia also came to Nasir’s defence, saying his remarks were misunderstood and taken out of context.
Its deputy president Najieb Mokhtar said Nasir never intended to offend anyone.
“Only a small number of those present at the function took offence and left the hall,” he said, adding that he was also at the same seminar.