Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he was ready to be investigated after the police said the former deputy prime minister would be questioned for allegedly making racially provocative comments.
“What is there to be afraid of? I will give my statement.
“Don’t tell me as the former home minister, I don’t know what I should say and shouldn’t say,” Zahid said in a speech to Federal Territories Umno members today.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said police would call Zahid and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy.
He said they were among those named in about 160 police reports, following the controversy sparked by a proposal for Malaysia to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Waytha had supported the plan despite strong opposition from Umno and PAS.
Zahid today said Waytha should resign and accused him of causing disunity.
He then questioned the presence of a Hindu scholar dressed in an ethnic outfit during Waytha’s swearing-in ceremony in Parliament in July.
“What is the necessity to bring an outsider when taking the oath?” he asked.
“I am not mentioning names but Najib (Razak) had appointed him as a deputy minister. Now he is minister of unity, but he is causing disunity.”
Zahid also criticised Muslim leaders in Pakatan Harapan who supported the proposal to ratify ICERD.
“Are you a Muslim? This is not a political issue, we are just asking what is in the Federal Constitution,” he said, referring to Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
Zahid said a joint rally by Umno and PAS to protest ICERD on Dec 8 would go ahead, but its aim would be to thank the government for its decision yesterday not to ratify ICERD.
“We are organising a big gathering to thank the government.”
‘I refused to jump ship’
Meanwhile, Zahid also hit out at Umno members who left the party, saying they were like “political pests” (langau politik).
“They look for faeces and rubbish to latch on,” he said.
He said those leaving Umno were afraid of being dragged to court.
“What are they afraid of? People must be brave to face challenges,” said Zahid, who himself is facing 45 charges related to money-laundering, criminal breach of trust and bribes.
He said he was being charged because he refused to “jump ship”.
“I was instructed to dismantle Umno. No way. That is why I am being slapped with 45 charges.”
Zahid in his speech also defended Umno’s decision to work with PAS, describing the Islamist party as a “new true friend”.
“What’s wrong if we collaborate? We open our arms to embrace PAS’ sincerity to cooperate with Umno on several issues.”