As The People's Prime Minister, it would only be right & expected of you to suspend Utusan Malaysia & give them a very stern warning.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — The prime minister has called for calm amid growing tension between Muslim and non-Muslims following unsubstantiated claims that Christian leaders have hatched a plot to replace Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.
“Calm down until we find out the facts. It is not going to be of benefit to anyone,” Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the Malaysian media at the end of the 18th Asean Summit in Jakarta today. “Whoever it is, whether they are opposition or pro-government, they cannot and should not exploit this issue.”
Najib also warned all parties that religion was a sensitive issue and the he would not to allow debate over the alleged Christian plot to spoil racial harmony in the country.
Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia carried a front-page article yesterday titled “Malaysia, negara Kristian?” (“Malaysia, a Christian country?”) based entirely on blog postings by several pro-Umno bloggers.
The bloggers accused DAP of sedition for trying to change the country’s laws to allow a Christian prime minister, pointing to a grainy photograph showing what they described as a secret pact between the opposition party and pastors at a hotel in Penang on Wednesday.
In a posting headlined “Agong under threat? DAP wants to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia?” blogger Marahku (marahku.blogspot.com) accused DAP of trying to amend the Federal Constitution so that a Christian could assume the post of prime minister. “The whole point of changing the official religion is to allow a Christian to become prime minister of this country,” the blogger said.
The Federal Constitution does not expressly specify race or religious requirements for the position of prime minister. Article 43(2)(a) of the constitution states only that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint as PM a Member of Parliament who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.
On bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com, another blogger claimed to have received a message that DAP’s Jeff Ooi had organised a dinner for pastors from Sarawak and overseas at Red Rock Hotel on Jalan Macalister, Penang.
“Among the activities that night included the 35 pastors taking a group oath. They formed a circle and touched each other’s shoulder and vowed in English to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia and put a Christian prime minister in office,” the anonymous writer said in his blog under the headline “Making Christianity the official religion?”
The blogger further alleged that DAP had labelled the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as an “anti-Christ agent” in the run-up to polls in Sarawak, showing the opposition party was “openly against BN on religious grounds and they are now making it their clarion call, their rabble rousing horn”.
The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), together with partners Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship, said the claims against their community were lies, and has already denied the bloggers’ allegations last night.
Similarly, Ooi said the dinner had been organised by the Christian pastors in recognition of the DAP team who had visited them while in Sarawak for the state election and that the prayer sessions — one before dinner and one at the end — were a usual part of their worship, and not a pledge as alleged.
DAP and MCA have also dismissed the claims as baseless, with the former slamming the home minister and the information, communication and culture minister for “endorsing” Utusan’s report by accepting it without question.
Despite this, Perkasa has said it believes the alleged plot is the work of former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members who infiltrated various organisations after the party laid down arms in 1989.
“I believe there are (former) Communist Party members who still hold communist beliefs and want to see the country descend into chaos,” he told reporters in Kampung Baru here today.
The Pasir Mas MP had earlier given the Home Ministry two weeks to verify the plot’s existence.
Ibrahim warned Malaysians who have forgotten about the communists to be wary of statements made by certain parties which contained anti-national and subversive elements rooted in the ideology, which he blamed for the increased racial and religious tension in the country.
“If it’s subversive, this is the work of communists hiding behind certain organisations,” he said. Commenting on the report, former prime minister and Perkasa patron Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that rising religious extremism in Malaysia was due to weak government.
“These are extremist fringes because they see (the) government as weak, that’s why there’s all these problems,” he said.
But the veteran politician did not specify whether that meant he agreed with the Utusan report.
Dr Mahathir said he did not want to comment further on the matter unless there was clear proof. “I haven’t studied it completely, so I don’t want to make statements. I do not want to harm the country with unsubstantiated opinions,” he said.