Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today flayed Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia for “fuelling the fires of hatred” by spreading “lies” that the Penang chief minister’s name had replaced the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s during Friday sermons at several mosques in the state.
PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed the accusations against Lim Guan Eng were made out of BN’s sheer desperation to remain politically relevant, pointing out that he had personally read the text of the sermon.
“I personally monitored the situation… I read the text that was distributed and found that the allegations were unfounded.
“They were merely lies spread for the political gains of politicians who are getting increasingly desperate,” he said in a statement today.
He said that allegation, made by Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was a reflection of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s failure to understand the people’s desire for a peaceful nation.
“We are confident that Umno’s ploy will not end here. They will surely use more slanderous lies to destroy the understanding and peace in the community.
“They are aware that Malaysians are committed towards seeking for change and justice,” he said.
DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang then slammed Utusan Malaysia for its front-page headline today, claiming the Malay daily had committed the most “irresponsible act in the history of Malaysian journalism”.
He said that the headline, which read, “Nama Guan Eng ganti Agong — Disebut dalam doa khutbah Jumaat: Umno Pulau Pinang bantah”, was “utterly baseless, a mischievous and dangerous incitement of religious hatred, tension and discord in plural Malaysia”.
“It goes against all the principles and values espoused by 1 Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.
Kit Siang reminded Malaysians that Merdeka was just around the corner, and called on a complete halt to the recent series of racially-charged incidents.
“With National Day only 11 days away and Malaysia Day in 27 days, there must be a complete halt to the recent series of irresponsible and crazy statements which are incitements of race and religion.
“Otherwise, the country is heading in the direction very opposite to the 1 Malaysia proclaimed by the prime minister,” he said.
Last week, a Johor school principal was accused of uttering racially sensitive remarks during a school assembly speech when she told the Chinese students to go back to China and said the Indians looked like dogs when they wore their prayer strings.
Today, another school principal in Kedah was accused of telling her Chinese pupils to “return to China”.
Kit Siang said Malaysians should celebrate Merdeka by embracing the country’s unity in diversity of ethnicity, religions, cultures and beliefs, the concepts of inclusiveness, social justice and the 1 Malaysia principles of integrity, culture of excellence, wisdom, humility, loyalty and the twin commitments of “People first, performance now”.
“But we have the opposite as illustrated by Utusan Malaysia’s front-page headline of falsehood and dangerous incitement to religious hatred, discord and tension,” he said.
Kit Siang noted that Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the Penang executive councillor in charge of religious affairs, had already refuted Ahmad Zahid’s allegations against Guan Eng.
“Abdul Malik said initial investigations showed no such incident had occurred as the text of the sermon, which is prepared by the state religious affairs department, never used Lim’s name.
“As Abdul Malik said, whoever did such a thing was ‘insane’ as no right thinking person would do it,” he said.
Kit Siang also called on both Ahmad Zahid and Utusan Malaysia to explain and apologise for showing disrespect towards Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept.
Yesterday, Ahmad Zahid claimed that the use of Guan Eng’s name had been detected a week ago during the sermon at several mosques in the Tasek Gelugor, Permatang Pauh and Jelutong areas.-MalaysianInsider