A video of a religious preacher demanding the government to issue a nationwide ban on the Chinese language has sparked outrage
In the 57-second video, Ustaz Abu Syafiq Al-Asy'ary called on the country to abolish all Chinese characters, as he contended that the language is not the national language.
"Here is a suggestion for all Malaysians. We will eradicate all Chinese characters," Abu Syafiq began the video, which was uploaded to his Facebook page with over 180,000 followers last Friday, 4 January.
"The country must eliminate and remove all items printed with Chinese characters, including billboards, newspapers, textbooks, or novels."
"We must immediately ban, eliminate, and haramkan (forbid) all Chinese words, leaving no trace behind."
Very quickly, the video went viral with many netizens expressing their disgust over the preacher's remark
The video was reuploaded to a Kelantan public group and it had garnered over 1,000 shares at the time of writing.
"Report and viral this video so that he can be arrested, investigated, and charged in court," said an irate netizen.
"I am proud that three of my children are studying in a Chinese school. My children are more intelligent and disciplined than this foolish child," commented a Facebook user.
Another netizen wrote, "It is so stupid for you to say that. You have no brain to think. God gave you a brain, but why do you (always) want to quarrel about Chinese language (and) Jawi language?"
Gerakan president Dr Dominic Lau also weighed in on the issue, stating that his party will be making a police report against Abu Syafiq
Dr Lau said that the preacher's remark not only hurt the feelings of the Chinese community, but it also undermines national unity, reported Malay Mail's Chinese-language news portal, Cincai News.
"So we have to deal with the preacher's extremist behaviour and action," Dr Lau said in a press conference yesterday, 8 January.
The Gerakan president added that even Saudi Arabia has incorporated Chinese into its education system and that cities in Europe, America, and Indonesia have signboards written in Chinese.
He also warned that such a remark will erode the diplomatic relationship between China and Malaysia.
"I must emphasise that Malaysia is a country with multiple races, cultures, and religions. Rakyat can uphold the rights of our respective race, religion, and culture, but we cannot influence other races and religions."
Earlier this week, a school in Puchong was pressured into taking down its Chinese New Year decorations because it was deemed too 'religious':