Malay right wing group Perkasa today admitted it had made a mistake in giving out ‘white ang pow’ and has pledged that such an incident would not recur.
Its secretary-general, Syed Hassan Syed Ali (left), said the episode has served as a lesson to Perkasa and urged all parties concerned to be careful and ensure that any of their action does not touch upon the sensitivities of other people.
“We will heed by the prime minister’s comments on the ang pow issue. It is right that it should serve as a lesson to Perkasa and all parties to be more careful, so as not to touch the sensitivities of other cultures.
“Perkasa also respects and agrees with the comments made by MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong that any one race should be sensitive to other cultures.
“However, Perkasa hopes that it is not directed only at Perkasa but also at other race-based non-governmental organisations, where sometimes it is difficult for them to apologise,” said Syed Hassan.
As such, he added, Perkasa viewed this as a healthy comment from Wee in order not to create further tension or unrest over the issue.
“Perkasa hopes that the matter is now closed. Perkasa admits its mistake which is truly unintentional and we pledge not to repeat it,” said Syed Hassan.
White envelopes are normally reserved for funerals as in Chinese custom.
Perkasa, however, stopped short of apologising for the whole affair despite several quarters, including Gerakan vice-president Mah Siew Kong, demanding it.
Yesterday Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak denied the white ang pow has anything to do with the government.
“The white packet distributed at the Chinese New Year function should not be construed to be accepted by the government,” Najib said in a posting on his Chinese-language ‘Ah Jib Gor’ Facebook page.
“I think that as long as we can have a better understanding of the Chinese culture and be sensitive to cultural taboos, such controversial events can be avoided.
“We all know that ‘ang pow’ means a red envelope, dominated by red rather than other colours,” he said, adding that the incident can be used as a social experience.
Perkasa had received criticisms following the distribution of white ang pow by its leaders at their Chinese New Year function on Jan 29.