GEORGE TOWN - Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi has openly apologised over his labelling of Penang Municipal Council staff as 'kucing kurap' (People of no significance).
He apologised after DAP national chairman Karpal Singh urged him to do so during his speech at the state DAP ordinary convention on Sunday at the Georgetown City Hotel in Penang.
Ooi, who went up on stage after Karpal Singh's speech, said to the convention: "I will not retract or apologise but when Karpal Singh tells me to do so, I will follow.
"I can't retract as it has already been uttered. I sincerely apologise if it hurt the people's feelings. Thank you very much".
Earlier, Karpal Singh gave the opportunity to Ooi, who called himself the "new Tiger of Jelutong", to apologise openly and unconditionally over his remarks.
"We must remember not to let power go to our head. Every elected rep must make sure that that respect is accorded.
"The sweeper must not be insulted. The workers in the municipal council, they must not be insulted.
"I call upon the "new Tiger of Jelutong, Jeff Ooi, to take the opportunity, and he has to take it which is now at this convention, to openly and unconditionally apologise to the municipal council workers who have been insulted.
"Kucing kurap is an insult. What does it mean? A cat with ring worms? A mangy cat? Someone of no significance? I think that is what it is. Somebody who is useless," he said.
Karpal Singh added that the officers of the council, where high or low ranking, must be respected.
He said: "There is no one who can be considered low. It's just a different segment.
"I am the national chairman of DAP but I can't direct (him to apologise). It is the central executive committee (CEC), which can direct.
"I must make it very clear that if Jeff Ooi persists in not apologising, then the matter will be taken to the CEC to direct him to do so," he said, which was followed by a loud applause from the floor.
A total of 659 out of 1,121 eligible candidates attended the Penang DAP's ordinary convention at Georgetown City Hotel in Burma Road today.
Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh was the convention speaker of the event themed "Staying Ahead, Embracing the Future".
Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, in his speech, advised party members against being complacent and arrogant despite enjoying support from the people.
On staying ahead in Penang, Chow said they could do it in three major realms - the party, the Pakatan Rakyat convention and the Penang Government.
"We need to continue building on our organisation strength and mobilise more people to join us as members and set up branches but we must never follow the example of MCA and Gerakan where branches are formed with the objective of getting more delegates for party election.
"The government realm is the most important. With the second mandate, the people's expectations have soared higher and we need to live up to these expectations.
"We need to ensure the that we improve on the agenda of caring social policy and sustainable living. Challenges in housing, transport, traffic management and flood mitigation must be effectively dealt with," he said, urging the members to stay united, committed and disciplined.