Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali (picture) is a MP.
Young leaders see red over Perkasa’s white packets
By LEE YEN MUN and SIRA HABIBU email@example.com
PETALING JAYA: No excuse.
That’s the reaction from several young MCA leaders over Perkasa’s white ‘ang pow’ distributed at its Chinese New Year gathering on Sunday.
Money given out in white packets is traditionally associated with the pak kam (white gold), which are donations given at a funeral.
MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong said there was no excuse for what Perkasa did.
“Perkasa should have been aware. They should have learnt the practices of another race before organising such an event, so that they did not upset anyone,” said Chua.
MCA Youth secretary-general Datuk Chai Kim Sen described Perkasa’s white ‘ang pows’ as disrespectful and not knowing this was not an excuse.
“(Perkasa president) Datuk Ibrahim Ali should act in the people’s interest by understanding our multi-cultural society which he represents as a Member of Parliament,” Chai said in a statement.
On his Twitter handle @weekasiongmp, MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong slammed “some people” for not understanding the meaning of ang pow.
“Ang pow, in the Hokkien dialect, means red packet. If you want give an ang pow to your friends, make sure the colour is RED,” Dr Wee wrote.
Perkasa deputy president Datuk Rahman Bakar had said on Sun- day that the white packets were the only mini envelopes they had and that they did not know if some may be offended by the colour.
Meanwhile, Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said they had no idea that white packets was taboo among the Chinese community.
“To us, white symbolises purity and sincerity. If we had known that it is wrong to give out white packets, we would not have done it,” he said.
Syed Hassan said the media should have highlighted Perkasa’s attempt to forge greater harmony, rather than harping on an honest mistake.
Perkasa's 'white envelope' ang pow nothing to do with govt
KUALA LUMPUR: The use of white envelopes along with the customary ang pow red packets at Perkasa's Chinese New Year gathering last Sunday has nothing to do with the Government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the leader of the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Datuk Ibrahim Ali, is an independent member of parliament. Perkasa is a Malay right-wing group.
"As such, the white packet distributed at the Chinese New Year function should not be construed to be acceptance by the Government," Najib said in a posting on his Chinese-language 'Ah Jib Gor' Facebook page.
"I think that as long as we can have a better understanding of Chinese culture and promote sensitivity to cultural taboos, such controversial events can be avoided.
"We all know that ang pow means a red envelope, dominated by red rather than other colours," he said, adding that the incident can be used as a social experience.
On Monday, Perkasa was asked to apologise for insulting the Chinese community by using white envelopes as ang pow packets at its first Chinese New Year open house. White envelopes are reserved for funerals in Chinese custom.
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Mah Siew Keong had said that giving cash in white envelopes during Chinese New Year, which is meant to be a prosperous and joyful festival, showed that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali was "greatly insensitive and insincere".
MCA Youth secretary-general Chai Kim Sen said Perkasa's action was disrespectful to Chinese culture and custom.
He said Ibrahim should act in the people's interests and understand the multi-cultural society and the taboos and prohibitions of each ethnic group and religion.
Perkasa deputy president Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar had explained that due to the large turnout at the open house at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru, the red ang pow packets ran out and white envelopes were used instead. - Bernama