PETALING JAYA: Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has apologised for the “PhD” remark he made that appeared to belittle the intelligence of those who do not have higher education.
“I apologise to those who were offended. It is not my behaviour to put others down. That means that it is not done on purpose.
“Debating in the #DewanRakyat is different. Even then, I have never insulted them.
“I was born to a poor family, a son of a rubber tapper. It is not my nature to insult people, ” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.
Ahmad was referring to a statement made during an event streamed on Umno Online’s Facebook page on Jan 8 where he appeared to have belittled a coconut grater for not being able to comprehend the need for a snap general election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He had said many countries were able to hold elections during the Covid-19 pandemic and referred to a particular television interview that featured an individual, believed to be a coconut grater, as saying that an election should not be held in the midst of a pandemic.
“A general election is needed because this government has the smallest majority in the world, ” he said.
“There are 222 Parliament seats and you need a minimum of 112 to become the government.
“The government now only has 112 seats... I realise the coconut grater did not realise this. The person was interviewed as a voice from the grassroots and I don’t know if they graduated from high school or not.
“If they were from the International Islamic University Malaysia or have a PhD, maybe I think they would have commented on the issue more accurately, ” he was depicted as saying during the interview.
Aside from a public rebuke, Ahmad, who is Pontian MP, also drew flak from politicians.
There were calls to hold a general election despite the Covid-19 pandemic due to growing tensions between Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in the Perikatan Nasional government.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said that a general election would be held once the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control.
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