Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jeff Ooi takes ‘Christian conspiracy’ to police


Susan Loone | May 8, 11
Malaysiakini

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi has lodged a police report against Umno-linked Malay language daily Utusan Malaysia and a blogger BigDog.com, for what he described were “malicious” articles alleging he was involved in a purported Christian conspiracy to change the country’s official religion.

Ooi, who is DAP central executive committee member, wants the police to investigate Utusan over its front page articles on May 7 entitled ‘Kristian Agama Rasmi’ (Christianity the official religion?), ‘Dua halaman blog dedah ikrar paderi seluruh negara’ (Two blogs expose pledge by pastors nationwide), and ‘Jeff Ooi nafi anjur majlis’ (Jeff Ooi denies organising seminar).

On page five, Ooi noted two other articles on the same matter entitled “Malaysia negara Kristian? Dua blog dedah pertemuan paderi bincang agenda jadikan agama rasmi” (Christianity the official religion? Two blogs expose meeting between pastors discussing making Christianity the nation’s official religion).

He also said he wants the police to investigate another blog, called ‘Marahku’, that carried a similar allegation in his blog posting entitled ‘Agong under threat? DAP wants to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia?’.

Though conceding that he did not have much information about the blogger, Ooi said the articles suggested that Ooi had attended a meeting of Christian pastors in Penang on Friday, where the group had prayed for Christianity to be the official religion of the country and for a Christian to be prime minister.

Utusan Malaysia had based its articles on a blog posting by yet another pro-Umno blogger, Zakir Mohammed, titled ‘Making Christianity the official religion’, which alleged that Ooi had organised the meeting.

Zakir and anonymous blogger Marahku had carried a photo in their blog featuring a group of people in a circle praying with their heads bowed.

At a press conference at the Jalan Pattani police station, Ooi urged Zakir and Utusan Malaysia to apologise to all Christians within 24 hours for the said allegations.

“Apologise in 24 hours or else I will explain the matter to all Buddhist and Christian groups and ask them to vote wisely against extremism in the next election,” he told reporters.

He said that although Utusan Malaysia had quoted him as saying that he was merely a guest at the closed door dinner meeting, the daily had concluded that DAP was involved in a very dangerous act.

“(They accuse us of) bringing the Chinese chauvinistic political strategy to a very high and sensitive level,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ooi took Zakir to task for saying in his post that “The level … is thought to be much higher as compared to the post May 1969 general election where victorious Chinese chauvinists (from) DAP trotted around strategic places in Kuala Lumpur with brooms asking the Malays to ‘Balik Kampung, Tanam Jagung’ (Go home and plant corn).

“That sparked the bloody racial riot of the evening of 13 May,” Ooi cited Zakir as saying.

Ooi felt this was the blogger’s attempt to stir anti-Chinese sentiments among Malays although not everyone in the Chinese community are Christians.

“I deny all the allegations by Utusan Malaysia and BigDog but I believe (in) the coincidence that as May 13 draws nearer, the duo has (tried to) spark these anti-Chinese sentiments by bringing up the issue of May 13 and by hurling accusations that my party is Chinese chauvinistic.

“(They are) malicious and should be investigated under Penal Code section 499 (for defamation)”.

Ooi expressed hope that all religious leaders would appeal to their believers to stay calm, while urging pro-Malay rights pressure groups like Pembela and Perkasa to “stop playing with fire”.

He said Umno should take action against irresponsible editors in the newspaper who play up racial or religious sentiments.

“But would they take action since they dared to expel their own (dissenting) journalist?” he asked, referring to sacked journalist and National Union of Journalists chief Hata Wahari.

The articles has created waves, with Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein joining in the fray and expressing worries about the seriousness of the allegations were true.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim has said the bloggers’ allegations should be referred to the Malaysians Communications and Multimedia Commission.

These happened even after a strongly-worded denial by the organisers of the pastors meeting, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), together with partners Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship.

The group described the articles as being “unfounded and totally untrue aimed at creating division and social disharmony in multi-ethnic society of Malaysia and appears to be seditious”.

NECF said the so-called special convention was in fact an unashamedly ethical marketplace seminar organised to discuss and address the issue of bribery and corruption in the marketplace and the Christians contribution in addressing such issues.

“It has nothing to do with political succession,” they said.

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