Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 11th January 2010:
Najib should do what Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman would have done instinctively in such a situation – to convene and preside over an inter-religious roundtable to end the religious dispute over the “Allah” controversy
At 9.43 am I received the following SMS from DAP MP for Rasah and Negri Sembilan State Assembly Opposition Leader Anthony Loke:
“Another church attack in seremban. SIB seremban church. Door was damaged. I am at the scene now.”
This was followed by other SMS from him on the latest dastardly and cowardly sacrilege, viz:
“The name of the church – siding injil borneo. They have bm service. This is the church mentioned by wong chun wai, the fastest growing church in Malaysia.”
“Idris Jala belongs to this church.”
“The church is located less than 1km from the seremban ipd”
This is the fourth day since the Black Friday of January 8, 2010 when Malaysia’s international reputation as a model of inter-religious peace, understanding and harmony was soiled and sullied, aggravating Malaysia’s international crisis of confidence as a safe haven for investors, tourists and international students as well as undoing all the multi-million ringgit “1Malaysia” propaganda of the past nine months.
However, apart from a RM500,000 allocation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to help relocate the fire-bombed Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati, dire warnings by Najib and the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein not to blame Umno over the religious incitement and church attacks, and the far-from-convincing assurance by Hishammuddin that “the situation is under control”, nothing very concrete had been done to undo the grave damage to nation-building and our international image.
In my media statement yesterday, I had said:
I issued my statement at about 2 pm yesterday when googling the two words “Malaysia Allah” turned up 7.1 million finds. At 12 noon today googling these two words produced 11.1 million finds or a three-million leap in less than 24 hours!
Najib should do what Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman would have done instinctively in such a situation – to convene and preside over an inter-religious roundtable to end the religious dispute over the “Allah” controversy.
Nobody is impressed by reports that the Barisan Nasional government is on the “damage-control mode”, with plans to dispatch several ministers to hold a series of dialogues between religious leaders.
All eyes will be on this Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, whether it is prepared to rise to the occasion to make amends for its past failures in allowing the “Allah” controversy to reach its present combustible point.
The biggest mistake of the Barisan Nasional Cabinet Ministers was to allow the the former Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to disrupt the religious equilibrium by imposing the ban on the use of Allah by Herald.
Yesterday I posed the following question:
Why no other Cabinet Minister, whether from UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, the Sabah and Sarawak parties had spoken up in Cabinet to stop such a ban because of long common usage of the practice particularly in Sabah and Sarawak predating the formation of Malaysia in 1963 we well as world-wide in the Middle East and Indonesia?
Can the Cabinet answer this question in a statement after its meeting on Wednesday?
The Cabinet’s mistake in 2007 was compounded by the haste with which the government appealed against the KL High Court judgment and secured an instant “stay”, without first allowing a full and balanced discussion and decision by the Cabinet last Wednesday on what was the appropriate response of the Barisan Nasional government, representing not only Umno, but also MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the Sabah and Sarawak component parties of Barisan Nasional.
The ball is in the Cabinet’s court at its meeting on Wednesday – whether it is prepared to act boldly to rescue the nine-month-old “1Malaysia” slogan and policy from having to be relegated to oblivion and to bring to a close the religious discord, hatred and incitement over the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment on the Allah controversy.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor