Kit Siang: Minister cowardly for defending UiTM’s ‘anti-Christianisation’ seminars

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang told Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) that Malaysians have the constitutional right to freedom of religion. — Picture by Choo Choy May
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang told Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) that Malaysians have the constitutional right to freedom of religion. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang accused today Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh of lacking the courage to admit that it was wrong for a public university to organise purported anti-Christian programmes.

The DAP parliamentary leader told Idris and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) that Malaysians have the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

“What shouts from the rooftops from Idris’ answer is his political, moral and intellectual cowardice in admitting that it was wrong for UiTM to conduct anti-Christianisation forums and to give an  assurance to Parliament and the nation that public universities will not be allowed [to] conduct any activities which promote hatred against any religion in Malaysia,” Lim said in a statement.

“When will Malaysia have ministers and leaders in government who have the moral, intellectual and political courage to defend and uphold the plural character of Malaysia’s nation-building basis, take a bold stand on moderation against all forms of extremism and intolerance, whether in public universities or elsewhere?” added the Gelang Patah MP.

In a parliamentary reply to PKR’s Penampang MP Darell Leiking, Idris defended UiTM’s anti-Christianisation seminar held last year, claiming that the programme was aimed at educating students on the threat of the Islamic State (IS) and Shiah teachings.

The minister also claimed that the forum did not violate the Federal Constitution and that it was meant to promote intellectual discourse.

The UiTM campus in Malacca entered the spotlight last December after it hosted a Muslim-only seminar, claiming of a threat of proselytisation from Christians.

It was the second time the public university catering to the Bumiputera community came under fire for holding an ostensibly anti-Christian programme on campus.

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