‘Christian leaders led to their slaughter’

RK Anand | May 13, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

Bishop Paul Tan says he is displeased and disgusted with the outcome of the meeting between PM and Christian leaders over the Utusan row. He calls the entire episode an Umno orchestration.

KUALA LUMPUR: Without mincing his words, a Catholic bishop criticised his fellow Christian leaders for allowing themselves to be used by the government to “please the other side”.

Instead of telling Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak the truth, Bishop Paul Tan of the Malacca-Johor diocese said the Christian leaders had become like “sheep being led to their slaughter.”

Commenting on the news reports on the meeting between Najib and the Christian leaders, led by the Malaysian Christian Federation (MCF) chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing yesterday, Tan told FMT that he was extremely disappointed with the outcome.

“I was not at the meeting, so I don’t know what transpired and whether the newspapers reported the entire discussion. But if the news reports are true, then I am displeased and disgusted,” he said.

The luncheon meeting was held amid the raging controversy surrounding a Utusan Malaysia report which alleged that a Christian coup was in the making, with Christian leaders and DAP colluding to undermine the position of Islam.

‘Umno agenda to rake in votes’

Tan, 71, pointed out that since Utusan was owned by Umno, the daily would not have published the report without an endorsement from the party led by Najib.

The bishop also claimed that it was part of an Umno agenda to rake in Muslim votes in the coming general election.

“Utusan’s Christian bashing, the big feature on the Pembela demonstration at the Putrajaya mosque about the 10-point plan and now the so-called conspiracy are purely an Umno agenda prior to our general election which is imminent.

“This agenda is to unite the Malays and for Umno to be seen as the bigger and better champion of Islam than PAS whose main claim to fame is that it is an Islamic party,” he said.

“Therefore, the Christian bashing, exaggerations and fiction demonising us are for a purpose: to enhance the siege mentality of the Malays and make them cleave to Umno to ‘protect’ Islam,” he added.

According to Tan, the chronology of events had lent credence to the claim that the entire episode smacked of orchestration for the election.

“Utusan publishes what it does, Pembela and Perkasa lodge police reports premised on fiction, but not one police report from our Christian leaders and so the police investigate the fiction published by Utusan. The police can only investigate based on a police report, not on newspaper cuttings.

“Nothing for a while from the home minister and Najib only asks for calm. Then Najib meets first with Muslims groups to calm them and states that Umno will always defend Islam, the Federal Constitution etc. The media were called and featured the meeting,” he said.

“Surely by then, our Christian leaders would have known that this issue was clearly manipulated and that the media would be present and regardless of what our leaders said (at the meeting), it would end up on the same trajectory: Islam safeguarded and the Christians agree to this.

“Why did the Christian leaders walk into that clear booby trap? Why didn’t they have a clear statement printed out for the press, saying what they wanted the meeting to be and what their own demands were, regardless of Najib’s spin,” he added.

Double standard

Tan, who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, said the government always practised double standard – one set of rules for Malay/Muslims, and another for the rest.

Responding to a question, the hard-hitting Jesuit-trained prelate, who once served in Rome, also dismissed Najib’s 1Malaysia concept as nothing more than deceit.

“All that has happened shows that the 1Malaysia concept is a bluff. We played the usual and now the worse – racial and religious bigotry,” he said.

Asked if he agreed with Utusan only being slapped with a reprimand letter, when other publications in the past, such as the Sarawak Tribune, were dealt a lethal blow, Tan said the Umno paper should not be spared the rod.

“Action should be taken against Utusan and the two ministers who supported it in the same way they suspended in the beginning our Catholic ‘Herald’ just for using the word ‘Allah’ which, in fact, is not the property of Islam.

“I am absolutely surprised that the Christian leaders who were there to see our PM appeared all of a sudden tame and conciliatory and did not demand justice be done, i.e., in the same way, the government dealt with the other non-Malay/Muslim papers. Then again, perhaps, the press did not publish everything (on the meeting),” he added.

Sarawak Tribune was forced to cease operations in 2006, when the government clamped down on the daily for publishing offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

In a related development, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said there was “some basis” to the Utusan report.

Speaking to the press, he said this was in view of new evidence provided in a police report lodged in Penang today.

Furthermore, he added, Utusan’s editor-in-chief Aziz Ishak’s explanation to the home ministry was similar to the contents of the police report

  1. #1 by k1980 on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 8:40 pm

    Those Christian leaders who were “sheep being led to their slaughter” will soon be conferred datukships.

  2. #2 by Dipoh Bous on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 8:55 pm

    …perhaps the time has finally arrived to let this country be run by those who are not affilliated to any religion.

    …yes, let atheists govern malaysia…


    …tala tala tauuuuuiii !!!!

  3. #3 by negarawan on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 10:00 pm

    I am sure the Christian leaders that met with Najip were fully aware of UMNO’s ruse and did not play into his dirty game. Whatever published in the media were quotes from him and he did not want to reveal the details. That’s most probably because the Christian leaders wanted stern action to be taken against Utusan, UMNO’s tabloid. Therefore a joint statement from the Christian leaders is needed to clarify what transpired. It is becoming increasingly clear that UMNO is taking revenge against the Christian community in Malaysia for not supporting it during the Sarawak state election over the Allah and Alkitab issues. Bottomline, the Christian community must remember the oppression from UMNO, and to vote UMNO/BN out in the coming GE. UMNO is doing the opposition a big favor by making itself hated and abhorred by fair-minded Malaysians in general. 1malaysia=1BigLie

  4. #4 by Loh on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 10:08 pm

    Why won’t the churches organize a special meeting for Christians to pray that UMNO will no longer be the next government?

    If the people are free to practise any religion, then they are free to pray for anything they wish for. If the people are allowed to vote, then they are also entitled to chose who they want to be in the government.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 10:09 pm

    Datukships?Datuksheeps la sudah tua ma.Frankly speaking i expected this as an outcome.Anyway padan muka kena lectured by Bishop Paul Tan,71=freedom fighter..what’s actually happened to those pastors who are dutifully supposed to guide the common people like us?How could we have faith anymore?

  6. #6 by good coolie on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 10:23 pm

    Look at the Straits Times headline: “Agreement on Islam” – as if initially there was not agreement! As if before, the Christians did not agree, but now they agree to the position of Islam. There is the explosion of the booby-trap that Bishop Tan seems to be talking about.

    The Fact:- Christians have never ( now or ever) questioned the the Constitutional provision regarding Islam.

  7. #7 by gofortruth on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 11:11 pm

    Now that Najib has spoken to the press as if Christians had really done wrong as reported by UTUSAN but he has now obtained fresh agreement from the Christian leaders that the Christian community will respect that Islam is the nation’s official religion. Najib is being projected here to have scored a stunning victory.

    I think the Christian leaders, led by the Malaysian Christian Federation (MCF) chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing should come forth to the press to voice their side of understanding.

  8. #8 by dagen on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 11:45 pm

    The lesson here is never ever trust umno. Remember they have tongues looking like this ‘W’ – forked.

    Vote the devil out of putrajaya. Deny umno. Reject umno. Kick out umno.

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Friday, 13 May 2011 - 11:51 pm

    Are u serious or what?this time?

  10. #10 by Godfather on Saturday, 14 May 2011 - 7:38 am

    It’s the standard capitulation by the church – just as it was in the past 30 years of capitulation by the non-Muslims of this country on matters of race and religion. These are the spineless leaders who will always shy away from a fight, from a confrontation, even though they have truth and rights on their side. Mamakthir realised this a long time ago, and so he began to usurp the rights of the minorities – even to the extent of being able to dictate who would be their leaders.

  11. #11 by lizzie on Sunday, 15 May 2011 - 1:02 am

    Based on the photo, probably the chrisitian minister, Idris Jala arranged the meeting? So if, the minister were like sheep led to the slaughter, then I supposed, Judas’ hands were at work….

You must be logged in to post a comment.