Umno supreme council member Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he should not be labeled as racist simply because he voiced the interests of the Malays and Bumiputera.
The rural and regional development minister also stressed that he would continue fighting for the Malay and Bumiputera without suppressing the interests of others.
"I have probably been labelled as racist, but my principle is quite easy...we fight for our people, but we do not afflict others. As long as we keep it that way, I think there's nothing wrong with what we do.
"If the Chinese leaders want to talk about Chinese people, go ahead, no problem, but just don't go calling me racist when I talk about the Malays," he said in response to MCA central committee member Lua Choon Hann's remark, accusing him of using electronic cigarettes or vape issue as a racial issue.
Ismail said this to reporters after opening the 14th convocation of Kolej Universiti Agrosains Malaysia at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre today.
Ismail Sabri said as Barisan Nasional component party, MCA should understand his responsibility as an Umno leader in helping the Malays because other BN component party leaders would do the same for their respective community.
He said Umno had no problem if MCA tried to so something for the Chinese and is even willing to collaborate for the purpose.
Ismail Sabri also called Lua to stop labeling him as racist, and instead, focus on winning the hearts of the Chinese voters to support MCA and BN.
He also expressed hope that the Health Ministry would meet and discuss with vape traders to find the best solution to the issue.