PETALING JAYA: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pix) has apologised to the German government for an incident involving a Malaysian student’s Nazi salute at his convocation ceremony at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) recently. The apology was conveyed in a letter to the German Embassy here.
Syed Saddiq, who is also Muar MP, said although he supported freedom of speech, it was actions such as the one displayed by the student “that reflects poorly on our society”.
“Globally, we are aware of the atrocities committed by the Third Reich. The ideology that the Aryan race was the purest and considered the ‘master race’ resulted in the persecution of innocent Jews, which is antithetical to Malaysia’s DNA.
“The comparison made by the student that in order to fight for the rights of one group is by way of defending the injustice of another is a false dichotomy.
“I have been an ardent supporter of the freedom of speech. It is something I openly encourage Malaysian youths to practise and exercise,” he added.
The student had reportedly said shortly after the incident that he gave the Nazi salute as a protest against the Jewish treatment of the Palestinian people.
The German embassy had recently expressed shock in a statement on the graduate’s antics. They had condemned the action and expected both the Malaysian government and university authorities to do the same.
“Considering the terrible suffering that was brought upon the world during World War II by the Nazi regime of Germany, the German embassy unequivocally condemns any show of support for a regime responsible for genocide and would expect the Malaysian government and authorities to do the same,“ it added in a statement.
UMS has vowed to take appropriate steps to rectify the situation.