AYER HITAM, Oct 6 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) 15th general election (GE15) candidate for the parliamentary seat of Ayer Hitam, Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali, expressed his disappointment after several Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters allegedly called him a racial slur during the nomination process here yesterday.
The Johor DAP vice-chief and party’s central executive committee (CEC) member also verbally hit back at the supporters of his rival and Ayer Hitam incumbent Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong for allegedly uttering the derogatory term against him.
Sheikh Umar said despite enduring the insults shouted directly at him, he felt that it was a confusing tactic by the BN supporters, clad in “Team Wee Ka Siong” T-shirts, as they were backing Wee, who is ethnically Chinese and the MCA president.
He then urged the BN supporters, who were mainly youths, to stop resorting to racist remarks.
“Don’t be racist Bro. You called me a Chinese dog, but you don’t realise whose name you have on your T-shirt.”
“If I say that you are a Malay Umno who is MCA’s Chinese dog in Ayer Hitam, do you like it? Can you accept it?” questioned Sheikh Umar on his latest Facebook posting late last night.
The former Johor assemblyman and state executive council member was describing a brief confrontation that he had with BN supporters near the nomination centre at Dewan Muafakat Ayer Hitam earlier yesterday.
Sheikh Umar also questioned the logic of the BN supporters’ derogatory remark as it was the majority Malay community’s votes that gave Wee the win in 2018, ultimately saving the latter from losing the Ayer Hitam federal seat in the landmark 14th general election (GE14).
“After all that, they can still call me a ‘Chinese dog’. Come on, why do we always want to use such narrow racist attacks as a weapon for political interests?” he said.
Sheikh Umar said as Malaysians, racial differences are our country’s strength.
“In PH, we respect all races. We avoid such narrow racial sentiments and are not against any race or religion,” he said.
Yesterday’s episode was not the first time that Sheikh Umar was involved in a provocative incident that also attacked his party, DAP.
Back in 2014, Sheikh Umar and DAP’s then Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong were involved in an altercation involving a group of Malay traders who blocked their visit to the Kluang Ramadan Bazaar to distribute dates.
The episode triggered the infamous ‘surat mana surat incident’ that pitted Umno against DAP nationwide.
The then Johor Umno deputy Youth chief Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat, who was also the party’s Kluang division Youth chief, was instrumental in defusing the situation.