Sunday 7 October 2012

updated 7:30pm - Guan Eng: Utusan twisted words of church leaders

  • Aidila Razak
  • 5:37PM Oct 7, 2012
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today said that Utusan Malaysia has yet again "twisted" facts to discredit him.

Only this time, he said, the Umno-owned daily had done so by putting words into the mouths of men of the cloth.

NONE"(Council of Churches Malaysia president) Thomas Philips (left) called me to say that he never said such things, and my people called up the other reverend, who also denied saying anything about me or Penang," he said when contacted.

"Utusan must have asked them general questions about talking about politics in a church and they used that to juxtapose it with the dialogue I held with church leaders in Penang. It's shameless.

"How can they put this on their front page? Utusan is really gunning for me. They love me to death."

He claimed that Lutheran Evangelical Church bishop Soloman Rajah was reported in Utusan's Sunday version Mingguan Malaysia as censuring Lim for politicising the church.

Both the church leaders were quoted as saying that the church is no place for politicking or vote-fishing.

Lim added that the dialogue he had with Penang church leaders was an annual affair held at a community hall.

"I met them as chief minister and spoke about imparting harmony. What's wrong with that?" he asked.

Malaysiakini reported that Lim at the dialogue last Thursday called upon church leaders to speak out against injustices.

Lim is due to hold a press conference at 5.30pm with the church leaders who attended the dialogue.

Church leaders back CM

Meanwhile, at a joint press conference with Lim in Penang, the group of pastors who attended Thursday's dialogue denied that the chief minister had dragged the church into politics.

National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) northern represenyative Sam Surendran clarified that the dialogue was held at the Masyarakat Penyanyang complex and not inside a church compound as reported.

Echoing Lim, he said that there were no political speeches at the function, and that it was simply an annual dialogue between the church leaders and state government.

"The meeting was very good and constructive. We discussed about issues faced by the church and expressed our grievances.

"I think it is good to have such an avenue to talk about issues like land, burial grounds and assessment rates," he said.

He added that the dialogue had nothing to do with the general elections and that all participants were "very clear" on its objectives.

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