GEORGE TOWN: Sept 6, 2008 By ANN TAN
Two reporters have vouched for the accuracy of the Chinese newspaper’s report on Bukit Bendara Umno division chairman Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s allegedly racist remark.
Guang Ming Daily journalist Lee Kelvin said he was sure he heard Ahmad utter Orang Cina cuma tumpang di sini sahaja (the Chinese are only squatting here.)
"I was following Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's second assignment at Kampung Pelet.
"When I reached the place, Ahmad was already giving his talk but I did not pay much attention to the content of his speech.
"It was only when Ahmad gradually spoke louder towards the end of the speech that the phrase caught my attention," he said.
Nanyang Siang Pau journalist Tan Ming Xao said the Kampung Pelet ceramah was also his second assignment.
"Najib was already there when I arrived. I don't really know Ahmad so I did not bother much over what he was talking about. Yet, I'm very sure I heard that remark from Ahmad but I did not pay much attention to the rest of his speech after that," he said, adding that he was focusing more on Najib.
Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng wrote in her journal, which appeared in the newspaper Saturday that she was sure she did not hear wrongly the alleged remarks.
Tan explained that Ahmad was talking about PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the talk that DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang would be the next Deputy Prime Minister.
She said Ahmad then asked if anything happened to Anwar, who would be the next Prime Minister.
She said he then asked if they (those attending the talk) wanted Lim to be the Prime Minister.
"After that, Ahmad said 'Chinese were only immigrants (Orang Cina cuma tumpang di sini) and it was impossible for them to achieve equal rights among races'.
"Upon hearing these remarks, I was thinking, did I hear it wrongly? Another journalist came by and whispered to me saying 'How could he say this; (it would) make people angry after hearing it," she said in her journal.
Tan said among some 200 attendees in the hall, some of them turned around and looked at her at the time.
"The look was more of embarrassment."