International Medical University (IMU) student Kiren Raj has issued a public apology after receiving major backlash for his “sexist” comments on Malaysian actress and singer Emily Kong’s death.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference at Wisma MCA on Monday (March 18), Kiren said that the comments in question “were not directed at any individual and meant no harm”. A video published by The Star shows him adding: “The comments were my imagination in nature.”
The medical student had caused social media outrage when he wrote on Facebook that women are “bad drivers”, and that they should let men do the driving.
“Man and woman work together… We offer you a safe drive home and you give us makeout or sex… I mean girls like sex too right,” he wrote.
An online petition titled “Stop Kiren Raj” was swiftly set up in response, calling for IMU to bar him from graduating and becoming a doctor. The petition garnered close to 22,000 signatures just one day after it was started.
At the press conference, Kiren said he removed his comments “as soon as possible”. “I would also formally retract my comments. I am deeply remorseful that my comments have offended many netizens. I would never do anything like this again,” he said.
Datuk Seri Michael Chong, department head of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Public Services and Complaints, added that Kiren has admitted that the incident was his biggest mistake, and he was seeking the public’s forgiveness “because the punishment is very severe”.
The IMU student also said that his comment was not directed at Kong, who died in a car crash early this month.
He added: “But again, I’m sincerely sorry… if it meant any hurt to her friends or family.”
He also said: “I never meant for the comments to be derogatory to women. Women have contributed a lot to society.”
“Sometimes, we say things that are not appropriate and we should be responsible and apologise. We should learn to reevaluate ourselves and better ourselves,” he said.
“This is sincere from the bottom of my heart,” he added, seemingly choking back tears.
He said: “I appeal to all of you, please accept my apology. Thank you.”