SHAH ALAM: A Selangor state executive councillor who was widely criticised for his Facebook post on the riots at the site of the Seafield Sri Mahamariaman Temple in USJ25 has apologised for his gaffe.
State exco for Socio-economic Empowerment, Development and Caring Government Committee V. Ganabatirau (pic) made his apology at the Selangor legislative session on Wednesday (Nov 28).
“Based on what the group chanted during the incident, I called them (the attackers) a ‘Muslim group’ in my Facebook post, and that has offended some people.
“After advice from several quarters, I have changed the term to ‘gangsters’ and would like to apologise for my earlier post,” he said.
Ganibatirau’s post had raised the ire of many people who heckled, chided and even cursed the assemblyman in the comments section of his post.
Later in the day, the state’s Opposition leader Rizam Ismail told a press conference on the sidelines of the state assembly that Ganabatirau’s apology was timely.
“We hope such things will not happen again as what happened is a remote case between the developer and the temple committee.
“But because of such statements, there occurred mayhem which resulted in injuries and losses,’’ said Rizam, the Sungai Air Tawar assemblyman.
He said Malaysia was a peaceful multiracial country and this facet must be upheld at all times.
According to Rizam, however, incidents such as this can affect the race relations in the country.
“I hope the state government will not let this happen again and will facilitate a solution between the temple and the developer,” he added.
On whether the state government had been late in addressing the riots, Rizam said he believed the state government had been cautious in handling the issue as one of the provocative statements had come from a state exco member.
On Tuesday (Nov 27), Pakatan Harapan Kuang assemblyman Sallehudin Amirudin also said that what Ganabatirau posted on Facebook could tarnish race relations in the country.
“He has to be careful of what he says as it could adversely affect race relations. Unity must first start in this assembly,” said Sallehudin.