MIC should make an open apology to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and all the people hurt over the “slippers garland” issue,” said the former prime minister’s son Datuk Mukhriz.
Although MIC had taken action to suspend the membership of the delegate who hurled the insult against Dr Mahathir at the party’s just-concluded annual general assembly, Mukhriz, who is also Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister and Member of Parliament for Jerlun, said this was not enough to pacify things.
“It’s not only Tun (Dr Mahathir) who is hurt by the remarks,” he said when breaking fast with members of the media at Restoran Khadijah’s Kitchen in Jalan Bukit here today.
Mukhriz said only an open apology would prove MIC’s sincerity in wanting to maintain good ties among Barisan Nasional component parties and that something like this should not have happened because it was hurtful to many.
He said this when asked to comment on MIC’s decision to suspend the membership of the delegate concerned pending a full inquiry for suggesting a garland of slippers be hung around a potrait of Dr Mahathir.
Earlier, in Kuala Lumpur, Mukhriz had said MIC members did not share the sentiments of the delegate who had made the “garland of slippers” suggestion for Dr Mahathir.
He said he had received quite a number of messages on the short-message service (sms) and calls from friends in MIC on the matter.
“They assured me that they do not share the sentiments of the person who had made the comment in the (MIC) assembly and that it does not represent the majority.
“So, I hope this is true and we can move forward,” he had told reporters after officiating a seminar entitled “Opportunites from AFTA and Regional FTAs”, organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation.
He said that it was unfortunate that his father’s statements had brought about some emotional reaction from one of the MIC members.
Mukhriz said Dr Mahathir had only asked MIC to undergo changes as demanded by the people who wanted a fresh new look in the party.
“He (Dr Mahathir) himself after helming UMNO and the Barisan Nasional (BN) for 22 years felt that he should not wait until he was thrown out before retiring,” said Mukhriz.
Other component parties within the BN, like Umno, were undergoing changes and MIC was no exception, he said, adding that the BN had only about two and a half years to change before the next general election.
“We are always looking at MIC as a major partner in BN representing the Indian community. Therefore, we hope that the changes demanded by the people will be carried out by MIC,” he said. Meanwhile, Wanita Umno has also demanded that the delegate concerned apologise to Dr Mahathir and people of Malaysia for passing such remarks.
Its head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the remarks were unacceptable and did not fit into Malaysian culture.
Shahrizat, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said she welcomed the party’s action in suspending the membership of the delegate pending a full inquiry but the wing insisted that the person meets Dr Mahathir to apologise.
“If we look at the true Indian culture, they will kiss the feet of their elders. In this respect, Dr Mahathir is a father figure in this country,” she added.