By Haris Ibrahim, President of Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement
It comes as no surprise that Utusan Malaysia has persisted in its patently seditious claim of a plot to turn Malaysia into a Christian state.
Nor is it surprising that the small handful of vocal extremists in the form of PERKASA, Pembela and various bloggers have made this their cause célèbre.
Sadly, it also comes as no surprise that Government response to this latest attempt by this reactionary faction to create discord and
uncertainty amongst the rakyat has been at best, non-commital and at worst, supportive.
Both Home Minister and the Information, Communications and Culture Minister responded to Utusan Malaysia’s inflammatory front-page article titled “Malaysia, negara Kristian?” (“Malaysia, a Christian country?”) by warning Malaysians not to question the position of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.
Subsequently, the Prime Minister merely issued a general appeal for calm, urging all parties not to exploit the issue.
Since the first article appeared last Friday, many Muslim and non-Muslim academics and community leaders have spoken out against the original claim as well as the rumours that have sprung up in its wake.
Yet Utusan Malaysia has continued to print more stories to perpetuate this “Christian conspiracy.” And PERKASA has had the audacity to issue ultimatums to the Government.
Utusan Malaysia is acknowledged to be an UMNO organ and considering that the original Utusan Malaysia article was based on several blog posts by pro-UMNO bloggers, the Government’s response to this issue so far has been highly suspect.
Why has there been no action taken against Utusan Malaysia under the Sedition Act?
Is the UMNO-led BN Government complicit in this attempt to sow racial and religious discord or else powerless to act against an emerging group of fascists?
The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement calls on the Prime Minister to demonstrate to all Malaysians that he is indeed the leader of 1Malaysia and that the BN Government is a Government for all.
We urge him to exercise his good judgement and authority to prove that he will defend the right of all Malaysians to live in peace and to worship freely.