Media statement by Teresa Kok Suh Sim in Shah Alam on Monday, 24th January 2011:
MCA and Gerakan leaders' insensitive and intolerant criticism of Normala Sudirman's personal religious beliefs reveal that they are extremists of their own kind and expose 1Malaysia for the sham that it is
I condemn MCA leaders Dr Chua Soi Lek, Ng Yen Yen, Chua Tee Yong, Fong Chan Onn, and Gerakan leader Tan Lian Hoe for their insensitive and intolerant remarks made to attack Normala Sudirman for her disinclination to shake hands with males who are not related to her due to her personal religious beliefs.
By making such remarks, these MCA and Gerakan leaders reveal their own religious bigotry and intolerance for religious practices different from their own. Their insistence that Normala should deny her faith, remove her gloves and shake hands with all is most disrespectful and is akin to insisting that a vegetarian must consume meat.
The fact is that these MCA and Gerakan leaders are extremists of their own kind and all their purported support for Najib's 1Malaysia is just a sham of political subservience. If they genuinely believed in 1Malaysia, they would appreciate that each person's religious practice is a very personal decision and so they would show more respect for Normala's faith instead of making these remarks:
It is disgraceful that these MCA and Gerakan leaders are spreading religious bigotry and fear as a tactic to win votes for Barisan Nasional in the Tenang by-election. In doing so, they insult the intelligence of Tenang voters and all upright Malaysians.
I believe that Malaysian voters wish to elect a representative who is sincere, honest, has integrity, and clean, not corrupt. These qualities are more highly valued than superficialities like whether the representative shakes hands with all and sundry or not.
I wish to express my respect and admiration for Normala Sudirman for staying true to her faith and maintaining her grace and dignity in the face of such bigoted attacks.
* Teresa Kok Suh Sim, Selangor State Senior EXCO for Investment, Industry & Trade & MP for Seputeh