Sunday May 8, 2011
Christian leadersí meeting with CM turns controversial
KUALA LUMPUR: A meeting between the Penang Chief Minister and Christian leaders has turned into a controversy with claims that the participants discussed making Christianity the official religion.
The meeting was front-paged by Utusan Malaysia which quoted two blogs making such a claim.
However, Penang CM Lim Guan Eng dismissed the report as a fabrication.
He described such irresponsible reporting as playing dangerous politics.
The DAP secretary-general said the party would lodge a police report against the daily over the matter.
“We have never asked for Malaysia to become a Christian, Hindu or Buddhist state,” Lim said yesterday.
The organisers of the meeting were the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship.
They, too, denied the claims, saying: “The Christian community in Penang is disturbed by the unwarranted and unsupported claims.
“The seminar was organised to discuss and address the issue of bribery and corruption in the marketplace and had nothing to do with political succession.”
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has described the purported meeting of pastors as serious.
He said any action by followers of a religion would invite reactions from followers of others.
“The status of Islam as the official religion is sacrosanct and can never and must never be questioned.
“The police must investigate whether or not such a meeting took place and whether or not this movement is under way.
“Such a movement is seditious and places the entire country in danger,” he said.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, however, cautioned the public from playing up sensitive issues.
“Don’t play with fire, or you might end up being burnt. We will not allow people to deliberately exploit this issue,” he said.
MCA Youth Chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong described the report by Utusan as provocative, saying the newspaper should be more professional in its reports and not base them on blog posts.
Party presidential council member Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn said there was nothing wrong for religious groups to meet with political parties.
“MCA can meet with Christians, Muslims and members of other faiths. Utusan should not impute any religious motives,” he said.
Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia Ng Moon Hing said Christians had never challenged Islam as the official religion and had no plans to do so.
Police reports were also made by Malay and Muslim rights groups Perkasa and Pembela, urging authorities to examine the validity of the article.
“This has to be investigated. If this is true, we have to be careful,” said Pembela president Dr Yusri Mohamad.