KUALA LUMPUR, 15 April 2009: MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had the right to speak his mind on why he thought Barisan Nasional (BN) was defeated in the two recent by-elections.
However, Ong, who is Transport Minister, added: “That doesn’t mean I agree with his statement that the Chinese [Malaysians] were ungrateful.”
In the recent by-elections, BN was defeated in both the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat and Bukit Selambau state seat but was victorious in the Batang Ai state seat.
“I wish to reiterate that in the spirit of democracy and freedom of speech, everyone is entitled to his or her own views. I agree that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has the right to speak his mind on why he thinks BN was defeated in the two recent by-elections,” said Ong.
He said, to him, it was the BN’s obligation to help the people, whether during campaigning or otherwise.
“As I said in my blog posting yesterday, the issue of being grateful does not arise at all,” he said in a statement posted on his blog at www.ongteekeat.net today.
Ong said: “Today, many newspapers and Internet portals have highlighted the deputy prime minister’s remarks which mentioned my name. I have clarified my stance on the subject matter in a blog posting yesterday.”
Muhyiddin was reported to have said that he had talked to Ong about the matter and the latter had told him there was nothing wrong with his statement.
“I will not allow myself to fall into the trap set by individuals bent on using me to pit a particular community against certain national leaders. My main priority now is to win back the people’s support for BN come the next general election,” said Ong.
“Such support will not come just because we dish out election goodies at the eleventh hour, but rather it involves a long process of winning back the people’s confidence and goodwill,” he added.
Muhyiddin has since denied calling the Chinese Malaysians ungrateful, and instead urged the media not to manipulate his statements and deliberately raise issues to make the people angry at him. — Bernama