Former Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz yesterday revealed that she too was offended by the editorial direction taken by Umno-backed newspaper Utusan Malaysia, which has been stridently critical of the Chinese community for strongly backing the opposition.
She told The Malaysian Insider that she disapproved of the provocative front page headline published after the general election, “Apa lagi Cina mahu?" (What more do the Chinese want?)
“That was very wrong... it was totally not right to put it that way. I was shocked.
"It is not a 'healthy' remark, to be put simply," the former Kuala Kangsar MP said while recounting her own experience canvassing votes for the Barisan Nasional (BN) in a multiracial setting.
Rafidah said she had always enjoyed the company of all, regardless of whether they were Malays, Indians or Chinese, adding that she was well received by non-Malays.
"We have to be welcoming first and the rest will see and realise it. We have to open up our arms and treat everyone equally ... you cannot just utter something like ‘apa lagi Cina mahu' and be done with it."
Rafidah said some of her comforting moments in politics came from non-Malays who had nothing to do with Umno.
Speaking of an encounter with an elderly (Chinese) man, she said, "I still vividly remember his words ‘aiya... kenapa ini macam jadi... kita manyak suka sama you’. (Oh no... why did it have to turn out this way... we are all very fond of you.)"
"I was touched but I told him, ‘It's ok uncle... sometimes things happen," she said.
The former International Trade and Industry minister added, "I do not like to make enemies... I always make friends, it is very important to me. That is how we all should be."
When asked about AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani’s previous statement lambasting the newspaper, Rafidah reiterated that Azran said it in his personal capacity, outside of the "boardroom business".
"It was his personal take on the matter... can't anyone express their own opinion these days?" said Rafidah, who is the AirAsia X chairman. – July 31, 2013.