Foreigners like him, don't know how to do things properly in Malaysia. Like the article mentioned, it's not a good thing to publicly state facts. Facts are meant for discussion belakang tabir (behind closed doors). Yes, facts are meant for discussion as we need to all get our facts right. I think it was Stephen Colbert who came up with the term for it: Wikiality, which means "reality as defined by consensus".
Everyone needs to get their facts right before anyone is allowed to say anything in public. This is just to avoid any public embarrassments. Yes, we are very big on public embarrassments. We need to jaga air muka (save face) of everyone involved (including Dr Rommel). If he had not publicly stated facts, we would not have drummed up this whole issue either, and everyone could continue on as though nothing had happened.
Like the comment says, if he had any complaints about our government policies, he could have cut queue (a very Malaysian thing to do) and complained straight to the appropriate people. Unlike the rest of the common rakyat who have to stay silent, he has many channels to get his grievances heard. In Malaysia, facts are only meant for the ears of important politicians (and possibly the random academic). Normal rakyat need to be protected from facing such dangerous facts.
"I did not say that the NEP was discriminatory nor did I call for it to be scrapped," says Dr Rommel. We don't care about any of that. The point is that, this little statement, made to about 50 people, has threatened the fragile stability between 27 million people in our country. So, our responsible politicians had to come out to defend our side of the story. We cannot risk our country falling apart because of the statement of a single foreigner. That's why our politicians accuse him of meddling.
Also, he's lucky that he is a foreigner. Our government has shown him our forgiveness and graciousness by not threatening him with various legal actions. We also didn't bill him for all the saliva and spit that had to be expended due to this affair. After he explains himself fully, we will say that we are satisfied with his explanations (whatever it actually is doesn't really matter). Then, everyone can go about business as usual.
Next time, he should just stick to saying good things about Malaysia. If he's looking for material to talk about over a luncheon, food would be a suitably tasty topic (as long as it's the halal kind). We have truly good food in Malaysia. Ask any Malaysian what they miss most about home when they go abroad, invariably, the answer is food.
PS. This blog actually made me hungry, thinking of roti canai!