Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kotobian Tadau Kaamatan

The North Borneo Herald wishes all its readers a very happy Harvest Festival. Kotobian Tadau Kaamatan!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Malayan Daily Let Off With Warning

A Malayan Malay-language daily, the Utusan Malaysia was today let off with a warning by the Home Ministry for publishing a seditious article recently.

In the front page report entitled Kristian Agama Rasmi? (Christianity As Official Religion?)the newspaper said that an internet blog had reported that the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Christian leaders had pledged to make Christianity the state religion in Malaysia.

However, no action was taken against the newspaper except for the warning letter. In fact so far none of the cabinet ministers from the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) has made press statements condemning Utusan Malaysia.

Instead Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has stated that Islam's position as the official religion cannot be changed. This gives the impression that the DAP had indeed conspired with Christian pastors.

And in a recent meeting with Christian leaders over the issue Najib offered no apology.

The fact is that there was no such pledge by the DAP, which itself is dominated by non-Christians. The pastors were in Penang just for a prayer meeting. Furthermore the newspapers claim was outrageous considering that Christians do not constitute a majority in Malaysia.

But a lenient action like the slap on the wrist for Utusan was expected. After all, in May 1990 Utusan pulished a front page report entitled Ku Li Junjung Salib (Tengku Razaleigh Carries the Cross). It was an attempt to destroy Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's reputation among his fellow Malay-Muslims. Tengku Razaleigh was at that time in the Opposition.

The fact is that the Tengku was just wearing a Sigah, a traditional Kadazandusun headgear which had four arrows pointing north, south, east and west and did not carry any religious connotation. In fact the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr.Mahathir too had on many occassions wore the same type of sigah.

Even then no action was taken against Utusan.

Compare this with the action taken against the Sarawakian daily, the Sarawak Tribune in 2006 which produced a caricature of religious prophet to show what has caused the protest against a Danish newspaper. The Sarawak Tribune was suspended and only recently was the suspension lifted.

So, here we have it, one standard for Utusan Malaysia and another standard for the rest.