KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has summoned China’s ambassador to clarify his remarks criticizing extremism and racism ahead of a planned pro-Malay rally in the capital. Local newspaper The Star said on Friday Ambassador Huang Huikang had warned that Beijing had no fear of speaking out against actions that threatened its interests and affected the rights of its people.“The Chinese government opposes terrorism and any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism,” The Star quoted Huang saying.
Huang’s reported comments preceded a planned rally by a Malay-dominated, pro-government group that was reported to demand more Malay participation in Petaling Street, where most vendors are ethnic Chinese.
China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Malaysia’s foreign ministry said it would meet Huang on Monday to clarify comments that “attracted attention and caused concern to the Malaysian public”.
Huang made the comments during a visit to the popular Petaling Street market, known as Chinatown, on Friday.
Rally organizers said on Friday night they had canceled the planned protest on advice from the police.
Mostly-Malay ‘red shirts’ had taken the streets with 30,000 marchers in the middle of September to show support for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is battling allegations of corruption and mismanagement at indebted state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
But previous anti-government protests, critics said, led by a pro-democracy group called Bersih and which attracted many urban Chinese people, had insulted the country’s Malay leaders.
Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing By Praveen Menon and Eric Meijer