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China Daily Website

Malay group chided for white Chinese New Year packets

Updated: 2012-01-30 20:33
( Xinhua)

KUALA LUMPUR - An ethnic political party in Malaysia came under fire on Monday after it distributed white envelops instead of red packets at a Chinese New Year open house.

Red packets are red-colored envelops containing money given out among the ethnic Chinese people that they believe would bring fortune.

Netizens criticized the ethnic Malay rights group, Perkasa in blogs and social networking websites for allegedly being disrespectful in handing out white envelops, which are commonly given during funerals as donations among the ethnic Chinese in the country.

Various Chinese associations also criticized the party for being insensitive.

Perkasa, founded in 2008 as a party with defending the rights of the majority ethnic Malay as its main agenda, hosted the open house in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday as a gesture to celebrate cultural diversity in the country.

The event drew more than 1,000 guests, mostly senior citizens.

Perkasa's President Ibrahim Ali explained that the group had ran out of red envelops and white envelopes were the only mini envelops they had.

Ethnic Malays made up 50.1 percent while ethnic Chinese account for about 22.5 percent of Malaysia's total population of 27.5 million.