Negri MB sorry for table flipping speech (Updated)

SEREMBAN: Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has apologised over a viral video that showed him telling Barisan Nasional youths in the Rembau parliamentary constituency to take physical action against business outlets that slander the government.

"I am fully responsible, and to anyone who misinterpreted my comments ... I am sorry. But I have no direct intention to promote the culture of gangsterism," he said today of the speech he made on Sunday.

Mohamad told theSun on Tuesday his comments were taken out of context.

"Those were just words to inspire confidence among the youth.

"It's not like I want them to carry out the actions for real."

"I always joke around, you can ask any of the reporters who cover my press conferences," he said.

Police have started investigations into the case, after three reports were lodged against Mohamad today.

State police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin said the case has been classified as causing public fear or alarm under Section 505 of the Penal Code.

"We will call up all those relevant to the case in the course of investigations. With the general election expected to take place soon, I would also like to advise parties from both political factions to practise caution when making speeches," he said.

"Refrain from making inflammatory and sensitive statements that are hurtful and that might trigger anger among people. Let us have a peaceful and orderly general election without untoward incidents."

The police reports were lodged by Kuala Pilah Pakatan chief Kamarulzaman Kamdias and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia member Mohd Firdaus Mohd Rashid in Seremban.

Kamarulzaman said Mohamad should not have spoken in such a manner.

"As mentri besar, he should not be using those words," he said.

In the video, Mohamad urged the youths to counter allegations by the Opposition, as well as to convince voters to support Barisan Nasional.

He also said: "If there is a coffee shop disseminating slanderous statements against the government, you storm into the coffee shop, overturn their tables. If you're picked up by the police, I will bail you out."

Meanwhile, MyPPP president Tan Sri M. Kayveas said Mohamad was clearly speaking in jest and there was never a moment of violent intent meant in any form.

"A war cry or saying we fight till the end in political terms doesn't mean we take up arms against our fellow citizens. Its true meaning is to argue out the dispute or squabble to win."

Kayvas said Mohamad is a dynamic leader, often silent but performance orientated, and a man of peace and is charitable in nature.

MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker urged all quarters, especially the Opposition, not to sensationalise the matter and blow it out of proportion.

He said the mentri besar has already clarified his statement and the matter should be put to rest.

"Do not add an unnecessary spin to Mohamed's statement. Those who are familiar with him know what kind of person he is and that he would never incite any kind of tension," he added.