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Dr M renews attacks on "racist" Dong Zong

Dr Mahathir Mohammed says there is freedom of speech – but we are always sensitive about not encouraging people.

Updated SEPANG: Dr. Mahathir Mohammed has again launched an attack on Chinese education group Dong Zong today, but did not say whether the government would ban the organization in an online petition that collected tens of thousands of signatures.

This comes a day after the prime minister labeled "racist" Dong Zong, after the group launched its petition to oppose the move to introduce khat lessons into Bahasa Melayu's program next year.

"We have freedom of speech, but we are always sensitive to incite different races to fight each other," he told reporters after attending the 21st anniversary celebration of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (CLIA).

Also present were Transport Minister Locke Siv Shook, CEO of the Malaysian Airports Group Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, Malaysian Airports President Zainun Ali and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Hari.

Mahathir said it was up to the police to decide whether to legislate or not to represent Dong Zong.

But he warned that Dong Zong would break the country's laws "if it continues to encourage people to fight each other".

In his latest attacks against Dong Zong, he said the organization "never fought for Malaysia but for one race in the country".

"When you do something, you have to think about what the other race says. And if they are not happy, you should try and accommodate. But Dong Zong never spoke about Malaysia, it was always about Chinese education. Even when I suggested that we have this Wawasan school to bring people together, Dong Zong opposed it because it meant that the children from Malaysia and China were confused.

"What's wrong with Malaysians, Chinese and others going to school together? I went to a school where there were all the races, the Bengals, the Indians, the Chinese.

"This is what I said, it (Dong Zong) is a racist organization dedicated to the whole purpose of racial defense of one's own community," Mahathir said.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the claim of the Indian preacher, Dr. Zakir Naik, that the Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to him, Mahathir said:

"You can ask them. How can you ask me, I wouldn't know. "

The controversial preacher's statement in a speech recently drew bricks from DAP leaders, including Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran.

Mahathir renewed his government's commitment to protect Naik.

"We cannot bring him back because he risks being killed. But if every country wants to have it, they are welcome. "

At press time, a petition calling on the government to ban Dong Zong collected more than 60,000 signatures. The petition was launched by the Malaysian rights movement Gerakan Penguindar Cedar (GPS).

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