Utusan let off with ministry warning

The Malaysian Insider | May 12, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The Home Ministry has slapped Utusan Malaysia with a warning letter for publishing an unsubstantiated front-page article alleging a Christian plot to usurp Islam as the religion of the federation, which sparked a furore among the country’s majority Muslims and minority Christians.

The ministry today issued a statement that the editor-in-chief of the Umno-owned newspaper, Datuk Aziz Ishak, has been invited to the ministry to explain the daily’s violation of the Printing Presses and Publishing Act 1984.

The Malaysian Insider learnt he went to the ministry in Putrajaya at 4pm with another senior editor.

On Saturday, Utusan Malaysia carried a front-page article headlined “Kristian agama rasmi?” (Christianity the official religion?), claiming the DAP was conspiring with Christian leaders to take over Putrajaya and abolish Islam as the religion of the federation.

The report, based entirely on unsubstantiated blog postings by two pro-Umno bloggers, charged DAP with sedition for allegedly trying to change the country’s laws to allow a Christian prime minister.

Yesterday, the Penang government filed a formal complaint to the Home Ministry demanding stern action against Utusan Malaysia over the report.

In the complaint, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng sought for Prime Minister Najib Razak to act sternly against the Malay daily to prove that the newspaper does not enjoy full legal immunity.

Today, Lim took the matter further when he called on Najib to axe the Utusan Malaysia editors and reporters responsible for the “false report”.

Najib was also forced today to meet with the church leaders over the issue, after which the prime minister said he was pleased the church leaders had pledged to respect Islam’s position as the religion of the federation.

According to Najib, the church leaders also said Christians had no desire to challenge the provision within the Federal Constitution.

Najib did not, however, offer an apology for the report by his party’s mouthpiece.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 8:21 pm

    I am actually more dissapointed with the Church leaders. What exactlly they got in letting Najib off easy. Even if Najib agree to drop the ‘Allah’ case and Al-Kitab issue, its nothing. They should have asked for much more. Put Najib on the hook if they are not willing to reign in Utusan, he should give other religion TV and newspaper not controlled by BN. Get land for churches (e.g., in Penang). Make Najib bleed for the coward that he is.

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 9:02 pm

    They just ‘salaamed, salaamed, kiss, kiss’ and it’s all OK. Life goes on.

    Wait till you see the next edition on Sunday.

  3. #3 by drngsc on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 9:34 pm

    What do you all expect? Utusan Eidtor to go to jail? To get sacked? Get real !!!
    UMNO is behind all these fiascos, The government is behind all these fiascos. If the opposite headlines, had appeared in the Chinese or Tamil daily, guess what would have happen the same night???

    It is time. It is time. It is time.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. Only then may we hope to see some justice and fairness.

  4. #4 by negarawan on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 9:36 pm

    This is an insult to the Christian community in Malaysia. It goes to show the insincerity of Najib and disrespect and arrogance of UMNO towards the non-muslims and non-malays in our country. 1malaysia=1BigLie

  5. #5 by cph on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 9:53 pm

    Why the Utusan editors are not held under ISA? Is unfair?

  6. #6 by negarawan on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 9:57 pm

    “It’s not the intention of both parties, whether the Government or the Christian leaders, to highlight these matters openly until they have been amicably resolved.
    “Once a decision is made and the matter resolved amicably, only then will we say something openly,” he said.
    Asked what the problems were, the Prime Minister said: “Once it is settled, we will make a statement openly.”
    Utusan Malaysia (Suara UMNO) puts a seditious and malicious article on its front page, but the Christian leaders are not allowed to say things openly. Clearly UMNO has one set of rules for itself and its cronies, and another set of rules for non-malays and non-muslims! 1Malaysia=1BigLie

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 10:20 pm

    Year in year out…give in give in give in i.e. removing the cross,revelling in him as Lord the only savior coming for rescue/angpau/Santa’gift.Patut la kena hantam depan belakang.After hantam the holy men,,he seemed satisfied and cocky in vocal n action,worst thing is important thing like taking stern action against the seditious perpetrator habis cerita-no action-suah suah khee.Very arrogant sicko.Lets see what the other christian pastors say tomorrow.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 10:56 pm


    : Pooootttt!!!

  9. #9 by undertaker888 on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 12:40 am

    Why were those [deleted] not ISA-ed to protect them like one reporter who was ISA-ed for reporting the truth? itulah, umno penipu negara.

    frigging captcha. now comes with double vision.

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 8:50 am

    So we have a situation here where Najib’s over-arching administrative philosophy is in the toilet-bowl. However, the underlying machinery is still churning. This is akin to say an established company where the CEO strategy is worthless but the company basically still is an ongoing business.

    How long can “the company” keep going? It all depend on the control of Najib over the machinery and how competitive the business is. In Malaysia political business, its an anti-competitive market, so “the company” has a lot of leeway. BUT the market may collapse because the customers are just fed up.

    So it boils down to how much of the machinery Najib actually controls and loyal ONLY to him. Its likely that without Mahathir’s support, Najib rule will end. In other words, Mahathir now decides the outcome. Najib main choice now is to either promote Mukhriz over Muhiyiddin in order to secure his future OR he partners up with Muhiyiddin who may rather deal with Mahathir. The third choice is to fight and he has no track record of success with that..

    Regardless, he is not sleeping well now..

  11. #11 by dagen on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 9:23 am

    13-15 yrs ago one would be afraid to be seen reading the harakah in public. For that would be a public display of anti-umno sentiment. And all kinds of anti-umno sentiments are considered wrong and unpatriotic and therefore they are potentially ISA-able. It is a stigma thing.

    Fortunately the stigma has dissapeared. But I think a stigma somehow is begining to stick to utusan. A different stigma. Now utusan is commonly seen as a perpetrator of trouble – a no good publication. So some people today do not want to be seen reading that no good utusan in public.

  12. #12 by yhsiew on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 9:33 am

    Najib is quick to bow to pressure from Utusan. It appears that Najib is not in control of the country but the right-wing groups such as Utusan and Perkasa. Reforms are unlikely to see the light of day as long as Najib continues to helm the country.

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 9:50 am

    Of cos lah, what else is new?

    Well, UmnoB has created a monster dat it cannot control
    UM editor-in-chief has pens n pens r mightier than swords
    UM EiC has d means 2 brainwash rakyat, incl UmnoB members who elect their president
    UM EiC is d water dat can sink or float boats, incl UmnoB president
    So, actually UM EiC has d power 2 REPLACE NR, not d other way round

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