PETALING JAYA: Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham has apologised to Muslims over his Twitter posting which questioned whether Muslims were “wasting time and energy” in protesting a film deemed insulting to them.
“I retract and apologise to any Muslim who is offended by my tweet as it was never intended to be so,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The uproar came from his Twitter account on Tuesday, in which Ngeh, the Beruas MP, posted: “Khairy wants Muslim protest against Sam Bacile. For Islam or his political gains? Are Muslims wasting too much time and energy on this?”. Ngeh has since removed the posting.
He explained that the post was made after he watched news reports of violent protests sparked around the world over the film.
“I was wondering if too much time and energy have been spent in response to the video. I wanted our society to regard the way we respond to any provocation or issue that confronts us. I have been taught and have always emphasised to the young never to react but always to respond,” he said.
He stressed that he also strongly condemned the filmmakers for belittling the faith and religion of others.
Ngeh claimed that his tweet was manipulated and said if there were any Muslim who were still offended by the question, “I apologise as that was never intended.”
In CHINA, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the damage had already been done to the Muslims although Ngeh had retracted his remarks.
“We now know his true colours. He is a Malaysian and represents DAP which is said to be for all races. But unfortunately, he did not show his sensitivity towards religion,” he said on the first day of his official visit to China.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's refusal to reprimand Ngeh reflected the party's official stance on the matter.
In GEORGE TOWN, the Penang Malay Congress accused Ngeh of being insincere by issuing the apology online.
Its president Rahmad Isahak said it could be best described as a half-baked attempt to apologise and indicated that he was forced to do it due to political pressure.
Rahmad said Ngeh should have made a public apology and not via social networking sites, adding that the episode showed a lack of sensitivity and understanding of Islam on DAP's part.
In IPOH, representatives from 10 NGOs lodged police reports against Ngeh.