‘Some Basis’ to Malaysian Christian Plot: Minister

By Hazlin Hassan – Jakarta Globe | May 14, 2011

Kuala Lumpur. A new twist emerged in Malaysia’s latest religious row yesterday when Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said there was “some basis” to an Utusan Malaysia report which claimed that there was a Christian conspiracy to replace Islam as the country’s official religion.  

The Malay-language paper had published a front-page article alleging that Christian pastors were plotting with the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) to install a Christian prime minister and make Christianity Malaysia’s official religion.  The newspaper, which is owned by the ruling United Malays National Organization (Umno), quoted two bloggers in the story. Muslims make up about 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population while Christians make up 9 percent.  

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin cited new evidence detailed in a police report lodged yesterday in Penang. He did not say who had filed the report.  

His ministry had sent a warning letter to Utusan on Thursday, seeking an explanation for the story.  

Utusan editor-in-chief Aziz Ishak was called to the ministry’s office on Thursday, where he said ‘there was some truth in what was reported’, according to Hishammuddin.  

The minister said the police were investigating the matter. “It’s not just about Utusan,” he said. “It’s about whether it happened, on the issue of reporting, on the role of the bloggers … It cuts across all. We’re not pointing fingers at anybody.”  

His remarks are likely to further anger politicians from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and the opposition alike, who have already called for sterner action against Utusan.  

Chua Soi Lek, president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, which is part of BN, said the editors of Utusan should be suspended.  

“If there are certain parties who wanted to politicize the issue by sensationalizing the report, the writer[s] and the editors of the newspaper should be suspended,” he told reporters.  

The opposition DAP went further. DAP politician Teresa Kok said Utusan’s licence should be revoked and its editors sacked.  

Others noted that previous transgressions by the media had resulted in far harsher punishment.  

DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching pointed out that the editor-in-chief of Chinese-language newspaper China Press was suspended for two weeks over an “inaccurate report” on the resignation of Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan.   Political analyst James Chin of Monash University Malaysia warned that Hishammuddin’s comments might add fuel to the fire.

“This fire, if not controlled, may lead to another May 13,” he said, referring to the race riots in 1969. 

”This issue could really bring people to the streets,” he said. He noted that a row over whether Christians could use the word Allah to refer to God had led to church burnings last year.  

DAP politician Lim Kit Siang wrote on his Twitter account that “[Hishammuddin] made things worse [with] his ‘new evidence.'”  

Hishammuddin, who is also an Umno vice-president, denied claims that his party’s political bureau set Utusan Malaysia’s editorial agenda.  

“No, not true. I can confirm. I’m in the Umno political bureau,” he said.  

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 4:42 pm

    Hishamuddin mental gymnastic has been broken on several occasion over this issue.

    1. He said that Ibrahim Ali does not represent all Malays as Osama does not represent all Malays. The problem? Osama would be locked up under ISA if he were here. How come Ibrahim Ali is not locked up?

    2. He is now saying that UMNO political bureau does not set Utusan agend which is counter with Hata Wahari has claimed. Hata Wahari has proven to be truthful whereas Hishamuddin is already a proven bad liar with the whole ‘kerismuddin’ incident.

    Its clear Hishamuddin can’t handle his job even the political clowning around..

  2. #2 by Loh on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 4:57 pm

    ///Kuala Lumpur. A new twist emerged in Malaysia’s latest religious row yesterday when Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said there was “some basis” to an Utusan Malaysia report which claimed that there was a Christian conspiracy to replace Islam as the country’s official religion. ///–Jakarta Globe

    Hishamuddin claimed that there was ‘some basis’ based on the fact that a police report had been made, and whether that report had any basis or not was not established. It is no different from Utusan Melayu sensationalizing the issue based on the writing in the web. So what Utusan Melayu had taken as a basis for its report is similar to the Minister has taken as ‘some basis’; there was no basis. Utusan Melayu and Hishamuddin were both right or they were both wrong. As the Home Ministry admonished Utusan Melayu, it should also admonish Minister Hishamuddin.

    If praying to God for something to happen is conspiracy, then there certainly is no freedom of religious practice since Malaysians will no longer be able to pray for what they wished for. The persons who were present in the meeting, and they were said to have prayed for a Christian prime minister and also prayed for Christian to be an official religion, have denied the rumour. Any right minded person would not believe that by praying, Christian would become an official religion replacing Islam. It is futile to make that prayer, and it is not unnecessary too, since the inclusion of Muslims as an official religion is innocuous to other religion, and it is UMNO that tries to distort the constitution. The solution to the woe of this country is to remove UMNO. So the prayer to be more relevant would be for UMNO to lose in the next election.

    Religion is a matter between the people and God. There is nothing seditious about people praying to God for what they hope for, and it is certainly no conspiracy praying to God. If Muslims pray in the mosque for some outcome, they practise their right to religion. Base on the same standard, non-Muslims can pray to God to the outcome that they wish.

    In 1990, Tengku Razaleigh put on the Kadazan headwear as a show of friendship to the Kadazan Community. But that picture was taken as proof that Tengku Razaleigh had been converted to Christianity. The election held days later had Tengku Razaleigh’s UMNO 46 trashed. The incident had been written in UMNO’s stratagem. The 13 election will be held soon. UMNO now resurrects the trick spreading fears among the simple minded voters to vote for UMNO for the sole purpose of protecting Islam as the official religion. So UMNO now makes religion the election issue. It shows once again that UMNO would do anything just to get the simple minded people to vote for UMNO. But UMNO cannot hope that its members today are as naive as they were in 1990. Many now realise that like jogging, one gains no benefit seeing fellow human beings partake in the enjoyment.

  3. #3 by Loh on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 5:07 pm

    Chua Soi Lek said that the Home Minister should investigate the basis of Utusan Melayu’s report, and if found correct, to take action. Chua Soi Lek should tell Malaysians what law has the group violated assuming the Utusan Melayu report was factual, and what action he thinks that Hishamuddin can take against the group. Chua Soi Lek has not have been born to the modern world.

  4. #4 by ablastine on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 5:19 pm

    All this seem just too familiar, a deja vu. Some proxy from UMNO stirs up trouble. Somebody else fan the fire and the UMNO government conveniently allows it to fester and spread. The opposition falls into the trap and gives some strong responses. On the pretext of controlling ‘ a tense situation’ Operation Lalang 2 initiated putting all oppositions head into Kamunting. However to make things more credible pull along the fat toad in Perkasa so that he can get his PHD in ISA. Better still intiatiate emergency rule to rule forever. Say why is the architect of Lalang 1 so quiet? Is he too busy planning his Lalang 2? He has to ensure that Jasmine revolution does not happen in Malaysia when he make this move.

  5. #5 by cemerlang on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 5:26 pm

    The public demands answers. So answers are gorenged and given to the press. It is up to you to be discerning to all the answers given. If there is some evidence, show the evidence then. Don’t keep them and show them as political tools to keep your power. Instead of targetting a religious group, why not admit your fear that people wants a change of party and it can be anyone of any religion ?

  6. #6 by k1980 on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 7:40 pm

    A newer twist– the christians are planning to invite the Jews of Israel to invade Canland!!! They want to set up a Jewish state in Southeast Asia!!

  7. #7 by Not spoon fed on Monday, 16 May 2011 - 9:39 pm

    This is UMNO and Utusan bullying the 9 percent of Christians in Malaysia.

    This is also the agenda of UMNO and Utusan trying to destroy DAP directly and indirectly Pakatan. They are trying to link DAP to this issue. They are trying to create something to let those Malay who support Anwar to see this.

    UMNO is asking PAS and Keadilan to join BN saying “do not fall into the trap of DAP”. UMNO is actually underestimating the wisdom of PAS and Keadilan. UMNO must have thought PAS and Keadilan are stupid and have fallen into the trap of DAP.

    To UMNO especially Mahathir, they think urban people are stupid.

    Urban people know how corrupted UMNO is. Just like urban people in Sarawak, they know how corrupted Taib is but not the rural peopl who even do not have electricity.

    In conclusion, how the one million Malaysians working overseas return to Malaysia when the government even could not rule righteously Malaysia?

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