KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh fully understands the stigma of being judged by her faith, instead of the work she has done as a lawmaker.
As a practising Christian, Yeoh has been repeatedly accused of having a religious agenda, and has sought many times to try and dispel that claim.
But despite this, Yeoh says she has stood firm in the belief that every Malaysian has the right to exercise their faith without forcing it on someone else.
“Everybody is entitled to their faith. Freedom of religion in this country enables everybody to practise their faith and that comes with not imposing it on anyone else, these two must go hand-in-hand,” Yeoh told the Malay Mail.
“I am conscious in the discharge of my duty that I never want to impose my view on anybody. We need to start judging people based on their performance professionally and not by their faith.”
“I can totally understand how Maszlee feels when people judge you based on this. I have been subject to this the last few years,” she added.
The Segambut MP was referring to Education Minister Maszlee Malik, and the backlash he has received over his appointment by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Following this, many Malaysians took to social media to express their outrage as they claimed the International Islamic University lecturer supported controversial preacher Zakir Naik.
Zakir is a Islamic preacher from India who has in recent years gained fame among some Malaysians for his teachings.
Last year, he was given permanent resident status in Malaysia.
Separately, Yeoh said that during this year’s election campaign period and the launch of her autobiography in 2014, many had accused her of proselytisation.
“People bringing up such claims are mostly cybertroopers, not Umno assemblymen in Selangor,” she said.
“To ordinary folks, the results will speak for itself.”
“When I lodged a report refuting claims of proselytising through my book made by Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, many Muslim residents accompanied me to the police station. That to me says that people don’t believe in these kinds of lies anymore,” she added.
Just days before the May 9 polling day, Yeoh was defamed with claims through flyers that she “lives and dies for Christianity”.
The flyers with the words “Mati Hidup Saya Hanya Untuk Kristian” were distributed by unknown parties at a nearby ceramah in Segambut on May 4 where Yeoh spoke.
Last year, she was accused of proselytising to Muslims through her book resulting in several Islamic groups and Kamarul subsequently lodged a police report against her.