PETALING JAYA: A PKR Member of Parliament in Sabah has drawn flak on Twitter on Wednesday for calling immigrants in the state ‘pilaks’ and other vulgar terms.
Penampang MP Darell Leiking stood by his use of the derogatory terms and refused to apologise, saying that ‘as a Sabahan, he was fed up’.
‘Pilak’ means ‘silver’ and is usually a term given to Filipinos who are Southern Philippines in origin, who use it when begging.
His remarks sparked a heated argument with some Twitter personalities, including Sabah filmmaker Nadira Ilana and Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen.
“Those illegal immigrants I call them ‘pilaks’ because they ain’t Sabahans but created to ensure the continuance of those who need them,” Leiking posted via his Twitter handle, @DarellLeiking, in reference to the alleged ‘Project IC’.
Nadira, who goes by the handle @feistgeist, retorted by saying that Leiking did not sound like a leader, telling him to be ‘kind and just’.
“I dont blame PTIs (illegals) but Project IC because it violates the human rights of Sabahans and PTIs.
“Situation needs to be dealt with, and not the victims,” she said, tagging DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in her tweets.
Paulsen told the PKR MP to ‘have some class’ as the words he used were derogatory and dehumanising.
Leiking responded by telling Nadira and Paulsen to ‘come to Sabah and take them (the immigrants) back to Malaya’.
“Astonishing! You sound exactly like the Myanmar government telling others to take the Rohingyas away,” Paulsen hit back.
LFL legal coordinator Michelle Yesudas also rebuked Leiking for using racist language on World Human Rights Day.
The Penampang MP denied he was being racist, and again told his counterparts in the Peninsula to take the immigrants as Sabahans were suffering and were fearful of the illegals.
He later remained unrepentant and said he was willing to be labelled a ‘poor leader’ if it meant standing by what he said, sarcastically adding that Sabah had enough ‘good’ leaders for the illegal immigrants.