Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 12th January 2010:
Hishammuddin, don’t gloat as damage is not just door of a church, but the priceless religious harmony and national unity and billions of ringgit in lost investment, tourism and Malaysia as an international educational hub
The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should not gloat that “the situation is under control” when he said yesterday that “since last night there had been no serious incidents” and that “the only damage I was informed of is to the door of the church (Sidang Injil Borneo church in Seremban)”.
Hishammuddin should know that the damage to the country from the spate of church attacks and arsons in the past few days cannot be dismissed and reduced to just the door of a church, when the casualty is the priceless religious harmony and national unity in the country and the billions of ringgit in lost investments, tourism and Malaysia as an international educational hub with the country losing its place of distinction as a multi-religious country which had been able to maintain an incident-free record in inter-religious conflict.
In the past five days, Malaysia had been in the international news for all the wrong reasons.
It must be very galling that in Indonesia, the two largest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah are calling on Muslims in the country not to draw inspiration from the Malaysian church attacks.
“Don't be influenced by the incidents in Malaysia. Don't attack churches. It is against the teachings of our religion and the laws of our state,” NU deputy chairperson Shalahuddin Wahid was quoted as saying by Koran Jakarta daily on Saturday.
The “Don’t compare apples with oranges” argument presented by the Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam to foreign missions yesterday to explain the government’s ban on the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims when other countries allow the practice lacks persuasive power, whether to interested foreigners or Malaysians.
If anyone is guilty of comparing apples with oranges, it is the UMNO leaders, as for instance likening the use of the term Allah by non-Muslims as equivalent to the cow-head sacrilege in Shah Alam, when the latter act was perpetrated with religious hatred and venom which is not the case at all with the former.
This is one SMS which I have received:
“You people are the community leader and the word Allah being sang everyday in school. How shall I answer my little kid. We parents have no answer for them.”
The Cabinet cannot shirk responsibility for the crisis of confidence, not only to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan but five decades of Malaysian nation building, and should set up an inter-faith commission tomorrow to restore national and international confidence in Malaysia as a model for inter-religious understanding, goodwill and harmony.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor