No racially-tinged banners at Red Shirt rally, says Malaysia DPM

No racially-tinged banners at Red Shirt rally, says Malaysia DPM
"Red Shirt" demonstrators gather for a rally in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

THERE were no banners with racially or religiously-biased words during the recent Red Shirt rally, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"We have investigated what went viral on social media and there is not a single banner that was racially-tinged," Dr Ahmad Zahid said when winding up his ministry's Budget 2016 debate.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the alleged banners could have been the work of other parties but not the rally organiser's.

He denied the police had practised double standards when they approved the rally while deeming Bersih 4 rally as illegal.

"There were some conditions that were not fulfilled (by Bersih)," he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the police spent RM8.4mil (S$2.8 mil) for all four Bersih and RM4.7mil for the Red Shirt rallies.

"The money spent could have been used for crime prevention purposes," he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said workers from Bangladesh were the most loyal and trustworthy.

"For example, when it comes to manning cash at counters or petrol kiosks, they are more trustworthy than the others," he said in replying to Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah-Kota Raja), who had asked why the Government was bringing in 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh when there were many foreign workers in the country.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the agreement to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers was not finalised yet.

Meanwhile, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap said there was a sharp increase in the repayment of loans under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).

Yap said the loan repayments for PTPTN were RM57mil in May and RM146mil in September.

"The increase is due to several initiatives taken by PTPTN, such as the opening of 71 branches nationwide," she said in reply to Datuk Dr Abd Latif Ahmad (BN-Mersing).

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said RTM would introduce a new live telecast slot later this month themed Managing Differences.

The show would see politicians from both sides and non-governmental organisations engaging in debates on current issues, with the debut to focus on Dewan Rakyat proceedings.

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