A voter in the Selangor state constituency of Kota Anggerik who interrupted Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim while announcing PKR candidates for the coming state polls has expressed disappointment with his dismissal of protests against Najwan Halimi over a recent racist remark the latter made about the Indian community.
Shanker Sundaram and his brother protested when Anwar announced Najwan was being fielded for Kota Anggerik, a state seat in Shah Alam.
Responding to the protests, Anwar said that he has the final say on the candidate list.
"Never mind, people do make mistakes. Listen, listen. The position of the party is what is said by the president. We are here to serve the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Dayak and the Kadazans," he said tersely, as he continued to read other candidate names.
Shanker said the prime minister's response raised "concerns about his ability to address racism within his party and among the candidates".
"Anwar merely brushed off Najwan's derogatory remarks as a 'mistake', insisting on his absolute discretion in candidate selection. I condemn the failure on Anwar's part to uphold his commitment to supporting the Indian community," Shanker wrote hours after the event last night.
On July 13, Najwan, responding to a news report on the socialist party PSM that was shared in a PKR WhatsApp group chat, commented "Parti India Estet".
A screenshot of the chat soon went viral, drawing condemnation for its racial overtones.
Najwan, who is the deputy chief of Shah Alam PKR Youth, later apologised, saying he had been ignorant about PSM.
Shanker said Najwan's comments should never be tolerated by the PKR leadership.
"As a resident of Kota Anggerik who has voted for many terms, I firmly believe that we must take a stand against any form of discrimination or insult towards any community.
"It is crucial to send a clear message that we will not condone such disrespectful behaviour from anyone, especially from those seeking public office," he added.