Saturday, May 14, 2011

DAP claims member forced to back Christian Malaysia report

May 14, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — The DAP claimed today one of its members had likely been coerced into lodging a report against the party in support of Utusan Malaysia’s Christian conspiracy article.

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, who was implicated in the Malay daily’s allegations last Saturday, told a press conference here that the member, Mohamed Razali Abdul Rahman, could have been forced to lodge the report as the paper has not one single testimony made in its favour to date.

He complained that since Mohamed Razali’s report yesterday, the latter could not be reached over the phone.

“We have tried to contact him but he has not been answering his calls,” Ooi (left) said.

He added that it is now one man’s word against at least 40 others, including eight pastors and at least 13 DAP leaders and members, all of whom had attended the event in Penang where Utusan Malaysia claimed the conspiracy had taken place.

The group, he explained, had been summoned to give statements to the police over the week.

“We are now giving him (Mohamed Razali) 24 hours to repeat what he said in the police report so that our legal team can take a look at his statement.

“His statement caused further abuse to the DAP with (Home Minister Datuk Seri) Hishammuddin (Hussein) now saying that there is basis in Utusan’s report.

“We want to remind Mohamed Razali however that it is the word of one man against 40 others, all of whom have given consistent testimonies that there was never any conspiracy to usurp Islam during the retreat,” he told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

Ooi admitted that Mohamed Razali was a valid member of the DAP and had helped during campaigns for several by-elections and the recent Sarawak state polls when he was stationed in Miri.

But, he said, that the 42-year-old was also formerly an Umno member, who had left the ruling party following Election 2008 after he had been allegedly “suppressed and harassed” by his fellow party members.

“He also has a relative who is a lance corporal in the Special Branch unit based in my area — Jelutong,” he said.

Ooi said the party had always considered Mohamed Razali a loyal member, especially after having helped the latter with his employment problems shortly after he joined the party.

He was responding to a report in Utusan Malaysia today quoting Hishammuddin as saying there was some element of truth in the daily’s controversial report last Saturday entitled, “Kristian agama rasmi?” (Christianity the official religion?).

The minister had allegedly made the claim following Mohamed Razali’s report claiming that he was present during the retreat gathering involving DAP members and Christian leaders and had the “true story” of the events that transpired.

Utusan Malaysia’s report had been based entirely on unsubstantiated blog postings by two pro-Umno bloggers, alleging that the leaders had taken a pledge during the gathering promising to take over Putrajaya, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.

The paper had also published a grainy photograph showing what it described to be a secret pact between the DAP and pastors at a hotel in Penang last Wednesday.

The DAP and Christian leaders have since voiced out their rage over the allegations and vehemently denied taking any part in such a pledge.

They have also urged stern action against Utusan Malaysia for telling “dangerous lies”, spurring a police investigation and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s special meeting with Christian leaders on Thursday.

According to Ooi, the police have since summoned eight pastors and at least 13 DAP members and leaders including himself to give their statements over the issue.

The pastors, he said, were asked if such a pledge had been taken, whether they had raised their hands during prayers, which hands they had raised and whether they had raised it high or at half mast as if they were taking an oath.

“On my part, I told them that there was no political talk during the retreat because Christian leaders are apolitical.

“During the dinner we attended in the three-day/two-night retreat, we discussed ethical issues, the duties of Christians to help eradicate corruption and so on.

“This is why even the Transparency International had been invited to be present... there were so many stakeholders and we did not touch politics at all,” he said.

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