Seputeh Umno vice-chief Razlan Rafii courted flak for his controversial tweet on DAP assemblyperson Eddie Ng, who was killed in a road accident this morning.
The 40-year-old father of three died on the spot due to head injuries.
“I wish condolences to the family and have sympathy for his departure, sorry to his family, may he have peace,” he said in a new tweet this afternoon.
Razlan did not specifically refer to his earlier tweet.
For hours, he refused to heed calls to delete the initial tweet and instead told news portal Malaysiakini that he didn’t intend to insult Ng with his tweet.
However, he eventually deleted the controversial earlier tweet, which read: “A person who likes to slander and possesses a vile heart (‘hati busuk‘) towards Malaysians is dead. One less person who slanders! Malaysia is peaceful! RIP.”
Defending his remarks, Razlan said: “Actually, I delivered my (condolences) wish just like other people would. I had no intention to insult him. I also hope he rests in peace.”
“I did not mean to insult him after his death but what about what he said while he was still alive with his accusations against (former prime minister) Najib Abdul Razak and other Umno members as thieves and all, even though there is no truth in those words.
“Then I wished for him to rest in peace,” he reportedly said.
For the insensitive tweet, Razlan was almost universally condemned by Twitter users, including his fellow Umno members.
Rembau MP and former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin urged Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to “show leadership” by condemning Razlan’s controversial posting.
“Learn from what happened. The public rejected the party because of individuals in the party that say and do the wrong things.
“Must show leadership. No point if only lesser leaders chastise,” the former Umno Youth chief said in a Twitter posting on Friday (July 21).
“There is limit in everything. This behaviour is inexcusable. As Muslim, we must respect the deceased and the family,” Pengerang MP and former law minister Azalina Othman Said tweeted.
Razlan’s tweet also drew brickbats from PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman saying Malays were not raised to insult accident victims.
“If this is the new Umno, then it strays from Malay culture,” Syed Saddiq, who is also youth and sports minister, said on Twitter.
Fellow minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar also saw red over the tweet.
“The tweet only reflects on his inability to respect the family of the deceased.
“Learn to respect the departed and be sensitive towards the family’s grief, whether they are political foes or not,” the land, water and natural resources minister tweeted.
Meanwhile, DAP Sri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah, who is a member of the committee handling Ng’s funeral, said Razlan’s remarks were akin to “rubbing salt into the wound”.
He urged BN leaders to act against those who make such statements.
Razlan’s initial comments were reminiscent of remarks in 2014 by then-Langkawi MP Nawawi Ahmad, who posted a picture of the accident which killed DAP’s Karpal Singh, accompanied by a newspaper article titled ‘An Islamic state can only happen over my dead body’.
Nawawi, who was referring to Karpal’s opposition to PAS’ call for an Islamic state, later apologised.
The damage from Razlan’s first tweet may be irreversible, as some social media users are questioning his sincerity in issuing the apology.