Malay groups slam M'sian rail project launch as 'too Chinese'
KUALA LUMPUR: Malay groups have criticised the ground-breaking ceremony of a railway project linking Malaysia's east and west coasts, which was launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak and a senior official from China, as "too Chinese" and lacking in patriotism.
The ceremony for the RM55 billion (S$17.5 billion) East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) on Wednesday lacked symbols such as the Malaysian flag at the site, said reports in Malaysian news sites.
China is funding the 620km rail link stretching from Tumpat town in Kelantan - near Malaysia's border with Thailand - south to Pahang before cutting through the mountainous central region to Port Klang, Malaysia's busiest port.
Malay rights group Perkasa said it was told there were flags and banners in Chinese along the road, but no Malaysian flag was seen, Malaysiakini reported.
A picture of the ECRL launch ceremony showed banners of different colours in Chinese on a lane leading to the site.
Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said it seemed like the event did not happen in Malaysia. And the emcee, who also spoke in Mandarin, "may have also been brought in from China", Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.
Addressing claims that the ceremony was unpatriotic, Pahang Umno Youth said there was no loss of Malaysian identity, reported The Malaysian Insight.
Pahang Umno Youth's leader Shahar Abdullah said there were Malaysian performances and ushers in traditional Malay attire.
"The prayer (at the start of the event) was recited in Malay. The (Malaysian) flag was fixed on the main stage," he was quoted as saying. - THE STRAITS TIMES