PETALING JAYA: Umno president Najib Razak was accused today of giving tacit support to the controversial Red Shirt movement with his lack of criticism of their activities.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Muhyiddin Yassin said Najib’s silence on the “racist and rude Red Shirts” had contributed to the seemingly increasingly strained race relations in Malaysia.
“I would like to state that up till today, Najib Razak has never condemned the Red Shirts,” said Muhyiddin in a press statement today.
Muhyiddin criticised recent remarks by Najib who placed former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and ex-opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim at the centre of fraying racial relations.
“(It) is a wild accusation, one that is totally baseless and highly hypocritical,” said Muhyiddin, a former Umno deputy president and former deputy prime minister.
“Does Najib not realise that the seemingly increasingly strained racial relations in this country is due to his tacit support for the racist and rude Red Shirts? In fact, Jamal himself has confessed to the media that most members of the Red Shirts are members of Umno,” Muhyiddin said.
Muhyiddin said that the consistently aggressive and racist approach of the Red Shirts went against traditional Malay etiquette and culture, especially given the group’s claim to defend Malay rights.
He said Najib should have ordered Jamal and the Red Shirts to stop provoking and attacking supporters of the Bersih reform group who, he said, were committed to making the Malaysian electoral system more transparent and fair.
On Saturday, some members of a group of about 20 anti-Bersih protesters on motorcycles harrassed and manhandled three reporters and a videographer covering a Bersih road convoy in the Kuala Selangor area.
The anti-Bersih protesters were dressed in red. However, it was not known if they were members of Jamal’s movement.
Previous Bersih convoys in other areas have come under harassment from the pro-Umno Red Shirts and Jamal has said he would organise a counter-demonstration in Kuala Lumpur if the Bersih 5 street rally is held on Nov 19. – FMT