26 April, 2008

Hisham apologises to all Malaysians

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has admitted that his raising of the keris was among the causes of the Barisan Nasional’s poor performance in the general election.

Apologising to all Malaysians for his action, he said: “If it affected anyone, I cannot run away from the reality of it. I apologise to the non-Malays and the Malays.

“To the non-Malays because of the fear to a symbol which was not my intention. And to the Malays for not being able to uphold their symbol of heritage.”

The wielding of the keris was introduced at the Umno Youth assembly in 2005 to symbolise Malay tradition. At the start of the assembly, a procession carrying the keris would proceed to the hall to hand it to the Youth chief, who would then unsheathe and kiss it.

In the 2006 assembly, there was uneasiness among non-Malays when some speakers made racially slanted remarks about using the keris. Things were made worse as the proceedings of the assembly were telecast live.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein's apology over the "kris issue" will not derogate from the Malays' dignity because kris is a mere symbol, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The dignity of the Malays would only remain redeemed if they were successful in strategic fields to continue to compete with other races, said the deputy prime minister who is also Umno deputy president.

"I hope the issue will not crop up again. Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has done a very solicitious and noble act, meaning he is ready to seek apology though some people say it was not his intention to declare war or has a conviction in any racist move,"

"Kris is a weapon in the context of our culture, not more than that. But because there are people playing up the issue, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin's move, I hope, will be accepted as something positive, sincere and noble so that the issue will not crop up again."

"The dignity of the Malays has nothing to do with kris. The dignity of the Malays will be redeemed if the Malays succeed in various fields -- politics, mastery of knowledge, economy and social."

"Everything must point to the Malays' development being at the level of excellence; we can compete not only at home but also internationally. At that time, the Malays will been seen as a successful race.

"So, the kris is a mere symbol and not linked to excellence. Excellence in the real world depends on our success in strategic fields," he said.



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