KUALA LUMPUR: Pas vice-president Salahuddin Ayub has refused to apologise for his statement which has been deemed to liken the Thaipusam procession to a street demonstration.
The Kubang Kerian member of parliament, who called for a press conference at the Parliament lobby yesterday, insisted that his comment on the Hindu religious celebrations was not intended to offend any party.
He also stressed that his comment had been taken out of context by MIC Youth which demanded that he apologise to the Indian community over the matter.
"In the debate, I was talking about Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which gives us the right to assemble and express our views.
"I gave examples of peaceful gatherings such as the gatherings against the Malayan Union led by Datuk Onn Jaafar in 1946 and Thaipusam, which has a million devotees gathering at Batu Caves every year."
Salahuddin said he had merely used Thaipusam as an example of a gathering that was peaceful without tear gas being fired.
He had made the offending remark during a debate, organised by Malay daily Sinar Harian last Tuesday, entitled "Street demonstrations: Does it build or destroy democracy?"
DAP members of parliament Dr P. Ramasamy (Batu Kawan) and M. Manogaran (Teluk Intan), who were present at the press conference, said they were not offended by Salahuddin's comments.