KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir today demanded Muslim group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) rescind its “defamatory” allegation linking her to a human rights coalition it called “anti-Islam” or face legal action over the claim.
Marina, the eldest daughter of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, described ISMA’s allegation that she was one of the masterminds behind the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the Universal Periodic Review Process (COMANGO) as “wholly untrue”.
“Although I am a Board member of Sisters in Islam, one of the NGOs in the coalition, I was not involved in any way in the COMANGO process.
“Therefore I view this allegation by ISMA as defamatory and demand that ISMA and its office bearers withdraw it immediately with a public clarification in all media, including social media, on my terms. Failure to do so will result in my taking legal action against them,” Marina wrote in a brief statement in reply to The Malay Mail Online’s query.
On Friday, ISMA distributed 70,000 leaflets at mosques throughout the country after Friday prayers that slammed COMANGO for calling for the freedom to renounce Islam; the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights; the removal of Malay privileges; the freedom to embrace Syiah teachings; and the right for Catholics to refer to God as “Allah”, among others
The leaflets featured pictures of Marina, prominent lawyer and co-chairman of election reform group Bersih Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, and several others named by Isma.
The Islamist activist group also named several non-government organisations including Sisters in Islam (SIS) as supporting COMANGO.
Today, Marina said the republication of Isma’s claims by news agencies was also “defamatory”, adding that legal action will be taken if they did not publish her clarification.
“I also view very seriously the republication of Isma’s flyers in various media, both mainstream and online, and regard this also as defamatory.
“I therefore request that all media publish my clarification immediately as well or also face legal action,” she said in the same statement.
Isma has been at the forefront of attempts to discredit COMANGO, which has also come under fire from other Muslim activists here who claim the group’s human rights recommendations to the United Nations ran counter to the “true” teachings of Islam and the sovereignty of the Federal Constitution.
Isma, which has since signed on with a coalition of Muslim NGOs called MuslimUPRo, also accused Comango of attempting to spread “liberalism teachings” backed by Western powers.
COMANGO countered that their report was merely an effort to encourage Malaysia to prove its commitment towards improving the lot of all Malaysians via the UPR.