Current Affairs

Defense of Islam not acceptable reason for Bible burning threat

By Lim Kit Siang, MP for Gelang Patah

ibrahim ali burn bibleThe Minister in the Prime Ministers’ Department, Nancy Shukri, who was in the eye of a national storm for a whole week for her parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan MP, Lim Guan Eng, why Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali was not charged over his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible seems to have become the template and model for MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders seeking to deny the truth instead of facing up to harsh realities.

The storm over Nancy’s outrageous reply why Ibrahim Ali was not charged will not end unless and until Nancy faces up to the harsh reality that neither common sense nor the law of the land can accept the defence of Islam or Federal Constitution Article 11(4) as valid reasons to justify threats to burn the Malay-language Bible or any sacred religious scripture enjoying immunity and impunity from lawful prosecutions or sanctions.

Have Malaysian lawlessness reach a stage where the threat to commit crime, subversion or even terrorism can be justified on the ground of defending the sanctity of any religion or the Constitution?

Nancy still owes Parliament and the nation a full apology for her shocking reply and subsequent explanation over why Ibrahim was not charged for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible.

Yesterday, Ibrahim Ali defended his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible in January 2013 saying it was only meant for Muslim parents of students who were allegedly given the holy book outside their school last year.

Ibrahim’s latest explanation is not borne out by the media reports at the time, i.e. in January and February 2013; and in any event, it is for Ibrahim to put up his questionable defence in a court of law and not for the police or the Attorney-General to second-guess what would be the court’s decision.

Ibrahim made the threat to burn the Malay-language Bible in Permatang Pauh in Penang on January 19, 2013, which was followed by a series of police reports lodged against him.

By the end of the month, the Penang Police Chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi announced that the police had completed its investigations and was ready to hand its papers to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

It is noteworthy that at the time, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had said that action will only be taken against Ibrahim if bibles were burnt and that the latter’s statement was not of grave concern which caused the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib who served as AG for 13 years from 1980 to 1993 to join the chorus of voices expressing concern about selective prosecution.

It is surprising that Nancy Shukri seems to have provided the template for MCA and Gerakan Ministers to deny the truth instead of facing up to the harsh realities as illustrated in the controversy over the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s speech at the MCA annual general meeting on Sunday.

Najib-Razak-jpgMCA and Gerakan Ministers are united in their claim that online news portals had “twisted” Najib’s speech, and I am even accused by a former MCA Deputy Finance Minister of having “twisted” Najib’s speech.

This is what this former Deputy Finance Minister said:

“I have spent years in Parliament and I know Kit Siang well. He is very good at twisting facts. He brings up good ideas on democracy and freedom.”

I thank him for admitting that I had brought up “good ideas on democracy and freedom” in Parliament, but I welcome him or the current MCA and Gerakan Ministers to pinpoint how I had twisted Najib’s speech at the MCA general assembly on Sunday.

In my statement yesterday, I said Najib had come up with a new variation of his “You help me, I help you” line, which he made infamous in the Sibu parliamentary by-election in May 2010, when addressing the MCA general assembly where he said:

“You can’t demand and then support DAP. You can’t demand and then support PR. You demand, you support BN, we will be fair to the Chinese community.”

Isn’t Najib’s implicit message very obvious – that the Chinese community cannot expect the government to be fair if they do not support the BN?

I am prepared to stand corrected and to apologise if MCA, Gerakan and UMNO Ministers and leaders can point out where I had “twisted” Najib’s speech.

It is indeed pathetic that MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders dare not even tell Najib that his speech at the 61st MCA general assembly was offensive and obnoxious as it ran counter to Najib’s four fundamental objectives: to be Prime Minister of all Malaysians; his 1Malaysia Policy where everyone is a Malaysian first and race, religion, region or socio-economic status second; his Global Movement of Moderates initiative and his pledge to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy?

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