Saturday 7 May 2011

State your stand on Utusan, Pakatan tells Najib

May 07, 2011 Malaysian Insider

Nurul Izzah questioned the Utusan article for its lack of proper sources. — File pictures 
KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak must punish Utusan Malaysia for a report which has incited religious tension, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders said today.

Opposition lawmakers said the prime minister could no longer afford to maintain an elegant silence over an article which claimed the DAP was conspiring with Christian leaders to take over Putrajaya and abolish Islam as the country’s official religion. The DAP has denied this and accused the Umno daily of lying.

“If the prime minister fails to sanction Utusan Malaysia’s headlines today, it will prove that he is party to allowing divisiveness to take root in Malaysian society, which goes against any efforts to bring about unity.
“It would appear that we have a leader who has abdicated responsibility to safeguard the nation from extremism, bigotry and false and inciteful propaganda by keeping his silence and feigning ignorance,” said PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Nurul Izzah told The Malaysian Insider the Utusan article itself was dubious, and questioned its lack of proper sources in which it based its information on. “What is the intention for such a headline, which smacks of cheap unethical journalism at best, especially considering the sources quoted.

“Enough is enough. Malaysians are peace-loving and loyal to the constitution, as are leaders of Pakatan Rakyat. I urge the prime minister to state his stand and answer the call of duty. Malaysians deserve much more than mere movement of the lips to mouth 1 Malaysia,” she said.

The Lembah Pantai MP said the Umno daily must be taken to task to ensure all published materials go through a thorough check before making it available to Malaysians.
PAS central committee member Khalid Samad echoed his PR colleague’s remarks, saying this was not the first time Najib had failed to act against Utusan. “If the government stands back and does nothing... this shows a sign of indecisive leadership,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“The fears that Utusan is trying to portray are unfounded,” the Shah Alam MP stressed.Utusan had carried a front-page article today titled “Malaysia, a Christian country?” (Malaysia, negara Kristian?), based entirely on blog postings by several pro-Umno bloggers.

The bloggers had charged the DAP with sedition for trying to change the country’s laws to enable a Christian to be prime minister, pointing to a grainy photograph showing what they described to be a secret pact between the DAP and pastors at a hotel in Penang on Wednesday.

The Federal Constitution does not expressly specify race or religious requirements for the position of prime minister. Article 43(2)(a) of the constitution states only that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint as PM a member of Parliament who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

In a posting headlined “Agong under threat? DAP wants to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia?” blogger Marahku ( accused the DAP of trying to amend the federal constitution to allow a Christian to become prime minister. “The whole point of changing the official religion is to allow a Christian to become prime minister of this country,” the blogger said.

On, the writer claimed to have received a message that the DAP’s Jeff Ooi had organised a dinner for pastors from Sarawak and overseas at the Red Rock Hotel in Jalan Macalister, Penang.

“Among the activities that night included the 35 pastors taking a group oath. They formed a circle and touched each other’s shoulder and vowed in English to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia and put a Christian prime minister in office,” the anonymous writer said in his blog under the headline “Making Christianity the official religion?”

He also pointed to the same grainy picture he posted at the top of his blog page, which he had captioned “Partying pastors or pastors doing the party do and vow to have a Christian as Malaysian prime minister”.
The blogger further alleged that the DAP had labelled the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as an “anti-Christ agent” in the run-up to polls in Sarawak, showing the opposition party was “openly against BN on religious grounds and they are now making it their clarion call, their rabble rousing horn”.

The blogger said it was a seditious and religiously-divisive statement that was never investigated by the police “or at least they did not tell us about any investigations on the matter”.

Mahfuz said Utusan was willing to do anything to get Malay voters.
He called on the authorities to investigate the allegations for sedition, warning that if the authorities failed in their duty the country may be “shattered again”.

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), together with partners Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship, said the claims against their community were lies, and has already denied the bloggers’ allegations last night.
Similarly, Ooi said the dinner had been organised by the Christian pastors in recognition of the DAP team who had visited them while in Sarawak for the state election and that the prayer sessions — one before dinner and one at the end — were a usual part of their worship, and not a pledge as alleged.

PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said that Utusan’s latest stunt showed that it was willing to do anything to get Malay voters — to the extent of pitting Muslims against Christians.

Utusan is doing this just to get that 5-7 per cent of Malay votes. They are creating DAP-phobia, Chinese-phobia, Christian-phobia, and for what?

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