‘Sack Ahmad and detain him under ISA’

Rahmah Ghazali (Malaysiakini)

Gerakan Wanita today issued a strong call for Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail to be sacked from his party for his spate of racist rants.

Women’s wing chief Tan Lian Hoe said Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should have Ahmad detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for playing up racial issues.

She said Ahmad’s ongoing attacks against the Chinese community are a threat to national security and expressed fears that this could lead to racial riots, similar to those of May 13, 1969.

Gerakan members, she said, are disappointed and angry with the actions of certain supporters of Ahmad. Yesterday, they had torn a photo of Gerakan acting president Koh Tsu Koon at the Penang Umno headquarters.

“How would Umno members nationwide react if a photo of their president was torn in that manner?” she asked.

If there are personal conflicts between Koh and Ahmad, the matter should be resolved behind closed doors and “not openly in front of the press”, she said.

“We should also not compromise with a person who is irresponsible and disrespectful, and (who is) trying to disrupt harmony in this country.”

Tan made her comments at a hastily-arranged press conference this morning at Gerakan headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Yesterday Ahmad continued his verbal assault against Koh by blaming him for playing up the issue, and calling for Barisan Nasional to kick Gerakan out of the ruling coalition.

Ahmad also issued a warning to the Chinese community against raising issues about Malays.

pak lah abdullah ahmad badawi putrajaya malaysiaIn an immediate reaction, Abdullah had lashed out at Ahmad last night, summoning him for an urgent meeting in Putrajaya this afternoon.

Asked if Gerakan’s call to detain Ahmad under the ISA contradicts the party’s firm stance against the draconian law, Tan hesitantly replied that it could still be used to safeguard  national security.

“In order to ease the strain among the grassroots, the ISA is still relevant for the time being,” said Tan, adding that the prime minister should take stern action against Ahmad.

Visible anger

Surrounded by Gerakan committee members during the press conference, Tan said that Ahmad’s alleged racial slurs could have an impact in other quarters.

“If he stops the nonsense – the racist remarks – immediately, surely we will not press for (use of the) ISA. If he does, I’m sure not only Gerakan, (but also) the NGOs and other parties will be affected,” said Tan.

She further criticised Penang Umno for standing by Ahmad despite his allegedly racist remarks.

“Their support is inappropriate as this only fans the anger of other races, although we have a good relationship with other Umno divisions,” said Tan.

gerakan wanita pc on ahmad ismail bukit bendera koh tsu koon tear down photo stunt 090908 pcDespite visible anger among Gerakan Wanita members during the 15-minute press conference, Tan said the party would accept an apology from Ahmad if he is sincere about it.

“If he is honest (enough) to apologise, then we would accept it. However, we will not force him to apologise because that would not (demonstrate) his sincerity.”

Asked if this matter would in any way influence Gerakan to pull out of BN, Tan replied “For now, that is out of the question, but we will make our decision later.”

Last night, at an emergency meeting, the Gerakan Penang liaison committee decided to sever ties with Umno Penang. However, the minority Chinese community was advised not to organise protests over the matter.

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