There is no defending Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi over his choice of words in his tweet. There isn’t a ghost of a chance of anyone playing the devil’s advocate here.
The DAP politician has been rightly denounced for being insensitive to the passing of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Haron Din. Criticisms came from both sides of the political divide, with even his party distancing itself from his tweet that read: “Adios Harun Din. May there be peace.”
“DAP regrets the insensitive statement from Jelutong parliamentarian Jeff Ooi with regards to Haron’s passing yesterday. I would like to announce that the re-tweet has been deleted. I would also like to express regret if any of Haron’s family members felt slighted over Ooi’s re-tweet which does not represent the party’s stand,” said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in a statement.
Penang PKR chief Mansor Othman said his choice of words were insolent and irresponsible. “I would like to state Penang PKR’s position that we distance ourselves from Ooi’s racist and foolish action,” the Nibong Tebal MP said in a statement.
“Why can’t a Member of Parliament from the opposition choose to act in a manner which befits a more human nature with feelings?” MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Secretary Chris Daniel Wong asked in a statement issued today.
“People do come and go and pass on and the least we can do as a human is to offer our condolences with words that are acceptable to humanity.
“Such action by Jeff Ooi is utterly cowardice and insensitive which doesn’t befit the status of a Member of Parliament, let alone the constituency which he represents. I hope such action does not turn into another racial or religion issue which his party has been accused off lately via such an example of provocative words.”
In a feeble attempt to defend his choice of words, Ooi argued that “adios” was not a bad word if his detractors were to check the dictionary, and insisted that he meant no insult.
Non-Spanish speakers use the word in a nonchalant manner. Similarly, words like ciao andaloha are not borrowed for use to bid someone a final farewell.
His next line “May there be peace” is even worse. If the innuendo wasn’t intended, Ooi didn’t even consider if it would be insulting to the departed, his loved ones or anyone for that matter. Was the ambiguity of the sentence and offence intended?
But to read further into his tweets and to label him a racist and declare that he is anti-Islam is really reaching. This is merely to score political points. Let’s not go overboard by calling him a bigot and paint him as anti-Islam. That is if he doesn’t attack any race or religion.