Guan Eng renews call for Utusan censure

By Debra Chong | May 19, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein must punish Umno’s Utusan Malaysia for stirring racial tensions with its unsubstantiated Christian Malaysia report now that a reliable witness has spoken up, Lim Guan Eng said today.

The DAP secretary-general was referring to Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Paul Low’s version of events at a closed-door meeting in Penang two weeks ago that sparked the controversy.

Low disclosed yesterday he was had been invited as a speaker for the May 5 dinner meeting with DAP leaders but denied Utusan’s presumed plot had taken place.

On May 7, the Malay daily had front-paged a report headlined “Kristian agama rasmi?” (“Christianity the official religion?”) based entirely on posts by two pro-Umno bloggers, claiming a secret pact to install a Christian as prime minister and oust Islam as the religion of the federation.

“I categorically confirm that no pact or pledge for Christianity as an official religion or for a Christian prime minister was made on the evening of May 5 or at any time during the conference,” Low told reporters yesterday.

“The only pledges or pacts which were presented included the Corporate Integrity pledge promoted by Institute of Integrity Malaysia (IIM), Pemandu and TI-M,” he said, revealing he had also been photographed in a grainy snapshot of the event published in the blogs.

Lim painted Low as “an upstanding man of the community and president of the anti-graft body Transparency International Malaysia, he is as reliable a witness as any”.

He said the TI-M chief’s account confirmed Utusan had breached sedition laws by publishing an “unsubstantiated and malicious lie”.

The Penang chief minister said issuing Utusan a warning letter was not enough as the penalty must befit the offence.

Lim blamed Utusan for causing confusion as well as racial and religious distress among multicultural Malaysians.

“Most notably, it was the catalyst for Ibrahim Ali’s call for a crusade or holy war against Christians. I am sure that anyone would agree the repercussions have been extremely damaging to the fabric of Malaysian society,” he added.

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali waded into the controversy recently where he threatened Christians nationwide with a jihad or holy war should they proceed with their alleged agenda to usurp Islam.

“Therefore, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has no choice but to initiate stern and severe action on the newspaper, so as to send a clear signal that the BN government upholds their supposedly 1 Malaysian spirit of peace and harmony across all races and religions,” he said.

Previously, Utusan called on its owners Umno to spearhead a “1 Melayu, 1 Bumi” movement involving all Malay parties, claiming that the DAP is intent on toppling the country’s Malay leadership.

Utusan has also told the Barisan Nasional to ignore the Chinese community for not supporting the ruling coalition during last month’s Sarawak state election.

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