‘Christian Malaysia charge is garbage’
Syed Jaymal Zahiid | May 18, 2011
TI-M chief Paul Low who was present at church leaders meeting says no plot was hatched to turn Malaysia into a Christian nation.
KUALA LUMPUR: Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) chief Paul Low today denied the allegation that there exists a conspiracy to “baptise” Malaysia into a Christian nation.
Low was a guest speaker at the ‘Unashamedly Ethical Conference’ on May 5 in George Town, Penang, where pro-Umno bloggers claimed the Christian Malaysia conspiracy was hatched between church leaders and the DAP.
“I categorically confirm that no such pact or pledge for Christianity to be made the official religion or for a Christian PM was made at any time during the conference on May 5,” Low told a press conference here.
He said the only pledges made at the event were “anti-corruption” pledges and not a secret pact to usurp Islam and appoint a Christian prime minister as claimed in the blogs.
This included the Corporate Integrity pledge promoted by the Institute of Integrity Malaysia (IIM), Pemandu and TI-M, added Low.
“What was discussed was the integrity pact, an anti-corruption tool developed by TI and supported and adopted by the government,” he said.
Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia carried the allegation made by blogs and published a front page article entitled “Kristian agama rasmi? (Christianity the official religion?)”.
Low questioned the motive behind the Malay daily’s article which he said was based on unsubstantiated claims and is prepared to assist police investigations into the matter.
“The way things are escalating, it is not good. I feel obliged to say my piece, I cannot keep quiet, I was there, I’m in the photograph that was on the internet,” said a visibly upset Low.
‘Najib a hypocrite’
Despite a nationwide uproar over the report, with some calling it a blatant attempt to incite religious hatred, the home ministry only slapped the Malay daily with a caution letter.
Ultra-Malay and known pro-government groups like Perkasa and Pembela threatened a “crusade” if Christians continued with their purported Christian Malaysia mission.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was pressured to go on damage control mode. He met with church leaders and assured both sides that Islam’s position will never be challenged.
However, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Najib’s cousin, later said that there was “some basis” to the report.
Low said he was gravely concerned over escalating religious and racial tensions in the country and urged the government to do its best to diffuse the situation.
Yesterday, Najib delivered a speech at the Islamic Centre of the prestigious Oxford University in Britain urging moderates to stand up against extremism.
His speech was swiftly chastised as hypocritical by opposition leaders who blamed the nation’s rise of racial polarisation to his failure to eradicate extremism in his own backyard.