Malay candidate learns Tamil to woo voters
Kuala Lumpur: A member of Malaysia`s ruling coalition, who is contesting in the May 5 general elections, is busy picking up key Tamil words to use in his speeches to woo the minority ethnic Indian community in his constituency.
Zulkifli Noordin, the vice-president of right-wing Malay group Perkasa has been sprinkling words like "appa" and "amma" Tamil for father and mother in his speeches.
"This is marupiravi for me," Zulkifli, who quit the opposition to join the ruling coalition, said at a meeting using the Tamil word for rebirth.
Ethnic Indian voters form 14 per cent of Shah Alam`s 100,076 electorate. Zulfifli is contesting from Shah Alam. A majority of ethnic Indians are Tamils.
Zulkifli, once a lawyer for Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, has been mired in controversy from the time he was named as a contestant.
An old video of him speaking at a religious seminar, in which he had questioned the purity of the Ganges River, was circulated around and also another calling Indians `Keling`, a word they view as highly derogatory.
He told his audience "Mannipom marappom," which means to "forgive and forget" in Tamil, online news portal Malayiakini said.
Zulkifli does not shy away from discussing the controversial video, using it as "evidence" of the "indoctrination of hate" by the opposition alliance on which he is now blaming his racist indiscretion.
"Malaysia is like `sireh` (betel leaf). The betel leaves are the Malays, the betel nut are the Chinese, while the Indians are the soonambu or limestone paste, he said adding that though the "the portion for `soonambu` might be small but it`s very important for the betel".
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