“It is only by taking a firm stand and meting out appropriate punishment to Utusan Malaysia would Malaysians be able to close this sorry chapter and move forward together in peace and harmony,” he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, Transparency International Malaysia president Paul Low said he was at the meeting that Utusan referred to and could “categorically confirm” that there was “no pact or pledge” to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia and to install a Christian prime minister.
He said he was invited to the meeting and was present from beginning to end.
Utusan reported last week that the alleged pact was between Christian leaders and the DAP-led Penang government. It based the report on blog postings. Both DAP and Christian leaders have dismissed the story as false.
Lim said Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein now had “no choice but to initiate stern and severe action on the newspaper”.
He rebuked Hishammuddin for letting off Utusan with a “measly warning letter”.
He said Low was a credible witness. “As an invited guest speaker, he was a witness to the entire night’s proceedings, and as an upstanding man of the community and president of the anti-graft body, Transparency International Malaysia, he is as reliable a witness as any.”
Low’s account, he added, confirmed that the Utusan report was a “malicious lie” and was “seditious”. He said it had “caused much confusion and incitement of racial and religious misgivings among Malaysians”.
Police are currently investigating complaints against the Umno-owned paper. Last Saturday, Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, one of the DAP representatives at the meeting, said statements from eight priests had been recorded.
Low said police had not asked him for a statement and he would “gladly” give one if asked.
However, TV3 reported last Friday that another person who attended the meeting, DAP member Mohamed Razali Abdul Rahman, lodged a police report at the Patani Road station, saying he was disappointed that Christian leaders were denying matters they discussed. Other details of the report were not made public.