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Media statement by Zairil Khir Johari in Komtar, George Town on Wednesday, 11th April 2012:

MCA's attempt to paint Guan Eng as a political opportunist and a racist is not only inexplicable but also irresponsible

In an article in The Star published on 11 April 2012, Penang MCA Secretary Lau Chiek Tuan called for the Chief Minister to stop politicising education by allegedly threatening to withhold funds to Chinese schools that subscribed to two Malay newspapers Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian. He then added that the Chief Minister's alleged threat went against the spirit of racial unity.

Firstly, how can the Chief Minister be accused of politicising education when he did not make any reference to political newspapers such as Harakah, Suara Keadilan or the Rocket? By stating his support for Sinar Harian instead, the Chief Minister is merely pointing out that the latter's reporting is widely regarded as more objective.

Secondly, Lau mischievously comments that the Chief Minister's remarks went against the spirit of racial unity because the Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian are Malay papers. Perhaps Lau is not aware, but isn't Sinar Harian a Malay paper as well?

In any case, the Chief Minister's original remarks of supporting Sinar Harian instead of Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian were made in jest and never meant to be a threat in the first place. It is the MCA who is politicising the issue by twisting his original statement to paint the Chief Minister as a political opportunist and a racist.

What is really inexplicable is the fact that the MCA would even deign to support Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, especially when the latter is well-known to adopt a racist and often malicious line of reporting.

After all, Utusan Malaysia is merely the print-media extension of UMNO's narrow and racialised agenda that seeks to divide the people and worse, to cultivate a culture of fear amongst the Malays with the Chinese as their ultimate bogeyman. Lest we forget, it was Utusan Malaysia who called for the tragic events of May 13 to be celebrated as a sacred day. Is this the kind of thinking that the MCA feels should be perpetuated among schoolchildren in Malaysia?

* Zairil Khir Johari, Political Secretary to DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng



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