Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 27th January 2010:
More important for Najib to convene all-party all-religion round-table conference to demonstrate Malaysian unity and condemnation of religious intolerance giving real meaning to 1Malaysia than to officiate launching of hollow-sounding Government Transformation Programme
The desecration of two mosques in Petaling Jaya, the Masjid Jumhuriyah in Taman Dato Harun and the Al- Imam Tirmizi mosque at Taman Sri Sentosa this morning, must be condemned in no uncertain terms – no ifs and buts - by all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.
Again, for the past four weeks since the beginning of the year, Malaysia is hogging the international limelight for all the wrong reasons – the 16th and 17th cases of desecration of places of worship involving arson attempts and acts of vandalism which now involve 11 churches, a Sikh gurdwara, three mosques and two surau.
This has aggravated Malaysia’s crisis of confidence to attract foreign investors, tourists and students, undermining Malaysia’s international competitiveness and tarnishing Malaysia as a safe and secure haven for FDIs and as an ideal location for tourists and students.
Clearly there are irresponsible people out to cause mischief and create inter-religious strife arising from the Dec. 31 judgment of the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan lifting the 2007 Home Ministry ban on the Catholic Church weekly Herald and allowing the use of the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia version, and it is most unfortunate that the lack of firm commitment by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein to uphold the rule of law had sent out the wrong message to these mischief makers.
Although the Home Minister and the police claimed that the “situation is under control”, this is clearly not the case as illustrated by the two latest cases of desecration of the two PJ mosques, marking a new total of 17 such desecrations since the first case, the arson attack at Metro Tabernacle Church at Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur on January 8.
The Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the entire Cabinet is not taking the situation as seriously as it warrants – which is why I am very disappointed at the lack of leadership displayed by the Cabinet Ministers so far to deal decisively with the spate of desecration of places of worship by withdrawing from a protagonist’s role so as to be able to mediate a quick solution of the “Allah” controversy based on inter-religious dialogue, understanding, goodwill and harmony stemming from the Lau Bee Lan judgment.
I understand that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is officially launching the government KPI and NKRA programme underpinning his 1Malaysia slogan tomorrow.
To the majority of Malaysians, it would be more important for Najib to convene all-party all-religion round-table conference to demonstrate Malaysian unity and condemnation of religious intolerance giving real meaning to 1Malaysia than to officiate the launching of hollow-sounding Government Transformation Programme.
Tomorrow, Hishammuddin is giving a briefing to Pakatan Rakyat leaders from DAP, PAS and PKR as well as representatives from some NGOs on the government’s proposals on amendments to the Internal Security Act (ISA) expected to tabled in the forthcoming session of Parliament beginning on March 15.
Malaysiakini has reported that 50 persons, including university students and a few foreigners, have been nabbed under the ISA, in “an apparent current-terrorism blitz” – quoting Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) lawyer Edmund Bon that the 50 were detained last Thursday with 38 released the following morning while the rest are still in detention.
In an immediate reaction, the Home Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam has denied the arrests saying that the Home Ministry is not aware of them.
Home Minister Hishammuddin should clarify whether there is a new round of ISA arrests at the briefing on the proposed ISA amendments tomorrow.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor