Malaysian minister apologises for 'race' statement

Malaysian minister apologises for 'race' statement
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun.

KUALA LUMPUR - Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun yesterday apologised for the confusion caused by his statement on the status of the "race" column in official government forms.

He said the cabinet had discussed dropping the column, but had not arrived at a definitive decision.

"Media reports on the matter did not reflect my actual statement. They are inaccurate.

"Nevertheless, I would like to apologise for the confusion," he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had the tables turned against him when he was caught in a Twitter war on the clarification by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the "race" column in government forms would be retained.

In a statement issued after Najib's clarification, the Penang chief minister, who uses the handle @cmlimguaneng, said the removal of the column "would have been a step towards creating a single national identity among Malaysians".

However, Kota Belud member of parliament Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is also Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, via his account @mpkotabelud, then posted copies of Penang and Selangor government forms that clearly required racial identification.

Rahman also uploaded pictures of PKR membership forms that had the "race" column.

In responding to posts on the Penang government forms, Lim tweeted: "State govts subject 2Fed gov rules under centralised system." (State governments are subject to federal rules under a centralised system), to which Rahman replied: "Excuses! How many directives from Federal govt that PR states don't follow? PR states just cakap tak serupa bikin (opposition states do not walk the talk)".

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