Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 20th August 2010:
Utusan Malaysia's front-page headline is the most irresponsible act in history of Malaysian journalism - utterly baseless, a mischievous and dangerous incitement to religious hatred, tension and discord in plural Malaysia, totally against 1Malaysia
The Utusan Malaysia's front-page headline today "Nama Guan Eng ganti Agong - Disebut dalam doa khutbah Jumaat: Umno Pulau Pinang bantah" is the most irresponsible act in the history of Malaysian journalism - utterly baseless, a mischievous and dangerous incitement to religious hatred, tension and discord in plural Malaysia and goes against all the principles and values espoused by 1Malaysia.
The first Merdeka month celebrations themed "1Malaysia Transforming the Nation" should celebrate Malaysia’s unity in diversity of ethnicity, religions, cultures and beliefs, the concepts of inclusiveness, social justice and the 1Malaysia principles of culture of excellence, integrity, 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.
The Penang State Government, through the Exco Member in charge of religious affairs Abdul Malik Abul Kassim has completely denied and refuted the allegation of the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's name has replaced the Yang di Pertuan Agong's name in the Friday sermon at several mosques in the state.
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' (tidak waras) as no right thinking person would do it.
With National Day only 11 days away and Malaysia Day in 27 days, there must be a complete halt to recent series of irresponsible and crazy statements which are incitement of race and religion in the media or the country is heading in the direction very opposite to the 1Malaysia proclaimed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
National leaders must always remember that in the era of globalisation and information technology, the whole world is watching what is happening in the country.
Both Ahmad Zahid and Utusan Malaysia must explain, apologise and undo the great harm done to Najib's 1Malaysia by their most irresponsible actions.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor