Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has again denied claims that he is an “ultra Malay”, saying that although he fights hard for the Malay community’s rights as well as for Islam, he believes in being fair to all.
In an interview with KTS Group’s print media and radio station over the weekend, Mr Zahid pointed out that he had been raised by a Chinese foster father and had regarded his foster siblings as his own.
“I will not relate this if Ding (Lee Leong, executive editor-in-chief of Oriental Daily) did not ask this question. But now is the best opportunity to tell. I am not an ultra Malay. As a Malaysian leader, I have to be fair to everyone, to all Malaysians,” he was quoted as saying in a transcript of the interview in The Borneo Post yesterday.
KTS Group operates The Borneo Post, Utusan Borneo, See Hua Daily News, Oriental Daily and TEA FM.
“I must tell Chinese journalists that I have a Chinese foster father. I sold ice-cream together with him way back when I was in Primary 1 till Primary 6 … for six years,” said Mr Zahid.
“His children are like my own siblings. They are from the Hai Lam clan, and we had lunch and dinner together at their kitchen. Until now, I still maintain my relationship with them.
“Am I anti-Chinese when I have a Chinese foster father?”
Mr Zahid went on to say that although he fights for the Malays and for Islam, he has never forgotten the other races, their religions and cultures.
“For that matter, all Malaysian leaders should have a balanced treatment of different groups of people,” he added, according to the interview transcript.
Asked to comment on remarks on his Indonesian background, Mr Zahid warned his detractors against using the issue to stir up racial tensions.
“My parents were not born in Indonesia, but my grandfather and grandmother were. What is the problem here?”