Saturday 4 August 2012

'Christian conspiracy' bloggers in 'Pilih M'sia' drive

The mysterious 'Saya Pilih Malaysia' campaign took a new twist today with a newspaper advertisement featuring, among others, two bloggers who sparked the 'Christian conspiracy' row last year.

The two bloggers - Big Dog, whose real name is Zakhir Mohamad, and My Anger (Shamsul Yunos) - had in May last year made blog postings alleging that DAP had organised a meeting with Christian leaders in Penang at which they took an oath to make Christianity the country's official religion.

The 'Saya Pilih Malaysia' campaign, seen as a BN campaign for the looming general election, had for the past two weeks taken asubtle approach, featuring famous artists alongside slogans such as "stability, unity, progress, peace" - themes that were synonymous with the 2008 BN general election campaign.

utusan malaysia, malaysia negara kristianThe Christian conspiracy charge took the spotlight in May last year - weeks before the mammoth Bersih 2.0 rally - when Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia quoted the two bloggers Big Dog and My Anger in a front-page report with the screaming headline: "Kristian agama rasmi?" (Christianity the official religion?).

The report triggered an uproar among Christian leaders that led to a flurry of police reports and counter-reports. This was aggravated by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein saying there was "some basis" to the claim.

However, five months later, the Home Ministry confirmed that there was no evidence to back the claim and the case was subsequently closed.

i choose malaysia bloggersTwo other personalities featured in the advertisement carried by all major newspapers today, are prominent pro-BN bloggers - rocky's bru, whose real name is Ahiruddin Attan, and Apanama (Firdaus Abdullah).

The fifth blogger is Syed Akbar Ali who goes by the blog name OutSyedTheBox, believed to be close to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad but has often been critical of both the government and opposition in his blog postings.

In the full-page advertisements today, a line runs from the top to bottom, connecting several slogans such as "words connect us", "discussing issues big and small", "sharing our thoughts", "expressing our views" before arriving at "We choose to blog for the truth" with the word "truth" highlighted in blue.

The template again uses BN's trademark blue and white colours, but does not specify who is behind the advertisement.

Personalities linked to Blog House

However, four personalities featured in the advertisement are linked to Blog House Malaysia (BHM), whose patron is Mahathir.

Syed Akbar (OutSyedTheBox) is BHM president while Ahiruddin (Rockybru), Firdaus Abdullah (Apanama) and Zakhir (Big Dog) hold the posts of adviser, deputy secretary and treasurer respectively.

BHM too has had its fair share of controversy when its secretary, Tony Yew, lodged a police report against videographer Chan Lilian over a Twitter posting in which she urged Christians to back the Bersih 2.0 rally last year.

The report led the police to raid Chan's home in Penang before carting away her computer and modem.

The 'I Choose Malaysia' advertising blitz, which enters its third week, is not confined to major newspapers but is also broadcast on TV channels RTM1, RTM2, TV3, 8TV, TV9, NTV7, Astro RIA, Astro Awani, Astro Vaanavil and Astro AEC.

This extensive campaign is estimated to run into the millions of ringgit.

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