KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Muslim pressure group Pembela today urged the authorities to probe the validity of renewed claims of a conspiracy between DAP leaders and clergymen here to turn Malaysia into a Christian state.
In a statement here, the conservative group pointed out that since the allegations first hit media headlines last year, a police report has been lodged and several lawmakers have also come forward claiming to have knowledge of the matter.
“To determine the validity of the accusation, which was preceded by a police report last May 13, Pembela urges the authorities, particularly the police and the state religious councils, to conduct thorough probes.
“Action should be taken to ensure this matter is handled appropriately within the scope of the law and the Federal Constitution,” Pembela chairman Aminuddin Yahaya said.
He also urged for appropriate action from the National Unity and Integration Department in the Prime Minister’s Department, saying it was necessary to ensure that all religious leaders in the country receive “intensive explanation” on the “implications of the privileges of Islam in the Federal Constitution as well as the position of other religions”.
“Pembela [also] urges all Islamic NGOs and Muslims not to act outside the confines of the law when faced with matters like these, and should instead stand united to solve it,” he said.
PAS MP Nasharuddin Mat Isa recently revived the “Christian conspiracy” allegations against the DAP, an issue that has been used repeatedly by Malay right wing groups and hardliners in Umno purportedly to warn away the Malays from supporting Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
In a speech at Putra World Trade Centre, the former PAS deputy president was reported to have alleged that DAP leaders had led prayers seeking to turn Malaysia into a Christian state during a thanksgiving dinner held after the Sarawak state election in April last year.
Last week in Parliament, a former PR lawmaker appeared to back Nasharuddin’s allegations when he revealed in the House what he claimed was photographic evidence of an alleged plot by party leaders and foreign clergymen to turn the country into a Christian state.
Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin, a former PKR lawmaker, said he was in possession of photographic proof of a thanksgiving held in Penang last year on May 5, shortly after the Sarawak state election on April 16, where DAP leaders and a group of local and foreign clergymen had prayed to install a Christian Prime Minister and turn the country into a Christian state.
Listing those in attendance, which he said included priests and pastors from United Kingdom and South Africa, Zulkifli said it was also admitted during the dinner that foreign churches were willing to channel funds to help the opposition’s political struggle here.
“The priest from South Africa said he was invited to observe the Sarawak polls, and that he was disappointed in how the Christians have been sidelined in Malaysia, especially on the AlKitab Malay language bibles issue.
“He requested that something is done to help spread Christianity here and said that money is not a problem and that the churches in Africa are ready to help.”
Zulkifli’s revelation was first exposed in May last year in a front-page article on Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia headlined “Malaysia negara Kristian? (Malaysia a Christian country?)”.
The Malay daily reported that “Malam ini pula akan diadakan satu majlis di Pusat Kristian (Katolik) Pulau Pinang di sini dan satu ceramah perdana pula dianjurkan esok. Pertemuan itu dikatakan dianjurkan setiap tahun”.
[In English: “Tonight there will be a function at the Penang Christian Centre (Catholic) here and the public lecture will take place tomorrow. The convention is organised every year.”]