Nothing political in Penang dialogue, say pastors

By Opalyn Mok
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 07, 2012

Penang church pastors have refuted allegations that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had engaged them in political talk recently. — File picture GEORGE TOWN, Oct 7 — Penang church pastors refuted today allegations in Utusan Malaysia that Lim Guan Eng had engaged them in political talk during a recent dialogue session, the latest black mark against the Umno daily in its reporting of the state chief minister.

The DAP secretary-general has been under fire by Umno leaders and Utusan Malaysia columnist Awang Selamat for allegedly telling Christians to stand up to injustice.

“There were no political speeches made during that luncheon dialogue session between the state government and us,” national co-ordinator of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Pastor Sam Surendran told a press conference here this evening.

“I was present at the lunch dialogue session and all the pastors here also attended the session and we are refuting any claims that the chief minister had delivered any politicial speeches on that day,” he added.

The Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia had claimed Lim delivered a political speech at a church to garner votes for the upcoming elections. The news report had also quoted the Bishop of Lutheran Evangelical Church Rev Dr Solomon Rajah and National Church Council president Rev Dr Thomas Philips allegedly criticising Lim for using churches as a place to win votes.

Surendran said the dialogue session took place in Caring Society Complex and not in a church as reported.

“This is a dialogue session between the state government and the Penang churches, held on a neutral ground,” he said.

He said Lim did not say anything much except to listen to the grievances raised by the churches and answering the grievances.

“We were all there so we know what went on during that dialogue session and we can vouch that there was nothing political throughout the whole session,” he said.

The nine other pastors who attended the dialogue session were also present at the press conference.

Surendran said the issues discussed during the dialogue session involved problems faced by the churches such as land issues, burial ground and assessment of churches.

“This is an annual dialogue session where we get to meet with the state government so that we could voice out our concerns and issues,” he said.

“Before this, we have never had this opportunity to meet with the head of state to air our grievances and we feel this is a good move by the state government to make this an annual event,” he said.

The pastor also said other state governments should emulate the Penang state government to hold annual dialogue sessions with churches so that the churches could air their problems and grievances.

Lim, who had called the press conference, said both Rajah and Philips have denied the statements published by Utusan Malaysia and attributed to them.

“Dr Solomon had contacted me through DAP MPs that his comments were twisted while Dr Thomas has said that he was not asked to comment on the dialogue session at all and that he had no idea he was commenting on me or Penang state government,” Lim said.

Surendran also said both the senior Christian priests did not attend the dialogue session.

The dialogue session was held on Friday afternoon between the state government and the pastors of Penang churches to discuss any issues the churches had.

  1. #1 by Winston on Sunday, 7 October 2012 - 10:38 pm

    When it comes to knowing who to believe, all right thinking Malaysians will know what to do.
    And it’s definitely not going to be the Devils’ Party!!!
    They can go to hell and roast there.

  2. #2 by IbnAbdHalim on Sunday, 7 October 2012 - 10:51 pm

    I think the most appropriate action is to sue Utusan for libel.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 12:03 am

    UmnoB, UN: 以小人之心度君子之腹, 心怀不轨, 真是卑鄙, 邪恶, 狭隘

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 12:04 am

    UmnoB, UM: 以小人之心度君子之腹, 心怀不轨, 真是卑鄙, 邪恶, 狭隘

  5. #5 by monsterball on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 1:36 am

    Here is a classic example how a religion has been twisted by Utusan and Umno B sickos for low class political reasons.
    Lim Guan Eng is getting all the dirty tricks Umno B can think of.
    The few Christian pastors..priests have spoken in favor of LGE….ad shut the mouths of the dirty rats…trying to win votes with their dirty tricks.
    Once again….it is Utusan steering trouble with this as their headline news.
    How sick can that Utusan editor be.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 2:28 am

    We r all affected by politics n as voters, it is our right to vote n elect d gomen of our choice
    So, all voters, regardless of religion, MUST VOTE 2 kick out d evil devil UmnoB/BN

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 7:56 am

    What is infuriating is this: IF you change Awang Selamat’s article where “Christian” is substituted with the word “Islam” or “Muslim”, then its not just OK, its deemed right and even duty by Awang Selamat and his supporters..

    Enuff said..

  8. #8 by Winston on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 10:59 am

    Let what those scums say be like water off a duck’s back!
    Just make it your mission in the coming GE to vote for the PR.
    In fact, make it your mission in life to ensure the Devils’ Party never ever make it back on the political scene of this country!!
    That’s all there is to it!

  9. #9 by machiavelli on Monday, 8 October 2012 - 11:22 am

    I think for a newspaper to remain credible and relevant its reporting should be based on the truth backed by facts and figures.

    Now once again Utusan Malaysia has been found wanting in all these respects. It is just standard operating procedure for them. Gutter journalism, lies and half truths reporting which no self respecting journalists will put their names to it.

    I would remind Utusan Malaysia and its editors that you can fool some of the people all the time, all of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.

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