Saturday 14 May 2011

Police quiz 8 pastors over 'Christian conspiracy'

Police have quizzed eight pastors who were present at the gathering in Penang that Utusan Malaysia had alleged to have hatched a so-called 'conspiracy' to make Christianity the official religion.

jeff ooi on utusan mohamed razali report 140511 01According to Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, the pastors were called up in the week following his police report on May 8 denying the Malay daily's claims.

Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Ooi who was present at the dinner last weekend where the 'plot' was supposedly hatched, said that the police's questions to the pastors suggests confusion of the authorities over the manner of Christian worship with the taking of a pledge.

"The pastors were commonly asked questions of the same theme," said Ooi.
"They were asked if there was a conspiracy to install a Christian prime minister and if there was a pledge taken to make Christianity the official religion of the country. They (the pastors) categorically denied this.

utusan malaysia, malaysia negara kristian, penang pastor meeting"They were also asked if they raised their hands during their prayers, as commonly practiced among Christians, and if they had raised their left or right hand, and how high they raised it," he said.

This, Ooi believes, has led to some mistaking the Christian gesture of raising their hands in prayer to that of taking an oath of pledge.

Besides the pastors, three DAP volunteers including two municipal councillors and Ooi have given their statements to the police in the on-going investigation.
Another of Ooi's special assistants has also received notice to give a statement to the police today.
Allegation devoid of common sense

According to the MP, the dinner in which the alleged pledge was supposed to have been taken was part of a anti-corruption conference attended by some 50 participants.

The event, called the Unashamedly Ethical Conference, discussed the role of Christians in the fight against corruption, with Transparency International Malaysia president Paul Low also in attendance.

"As per common practice for Christian events, the dinner began and ended with prayer session.

"Several guests also gave speeches and some spoke on the topic of corruption. None of what was alleged (the Christian state conspiracy) took place," Ooi said.

He added that the meeting was apolitical and as such, he as an invited guest, also kept politics out of his speech.

Ooi added that the fact that a Muslim man, Mohamed Razali, has now come forward to make a report which authorities claim give the Utusan Malaysia report "some basis" is also illogical.

"Should there be a conspiracy, we wouldn't have invited anybody, moreover a Muslim.

"That is common sense and to allude that I was the organiser to call for such a pledge - they should take note that I am a practicing Buddhist," said Ooi.
Mohamed Razali, a member of DAP's Jelutong branch, has yesterday lodged a police report on the controversy.

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