KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong said today his reference to the Bible during a forum held on September 14 was merely aimed at urging Christians to become better Malaysians by rejecting racism and corruption.
The Bukit Mertajam MP stressed that he did not criticise any religion nor did he propose the establishment of a Christian government as claimed by PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man earlier today.
“The said forum took place in a church for Christians with the aim of discussing their responsibilities as Malaysians,” he said in a statement.
“In my speech I stressed on values espoused by the Bible as guidance to become better citizens, such as justice, transparency, helping the weak and poor, rejecting corruption, oppression and racism.
“I did not criticise any religion in fact only called on followers of the Christian faith to practise those values.”
This morning Tuan Ibrahim claimed Sim was zealously promoting the “Kingdom of God” idea, a Christian concept of a spiritual realm over which God reigns or the fulfilment of God’s will on Earth.
Sim allegedly preached the idea alongside other Christian topics such as the “Jesus Manifesto” at the “Naratif Malaysia Baru” (New Malaysia Narrative) forum on Saturday.
The DAP leader, however, said the forum was titled “Anak Malaysia? Our story of past, present and future Malaysia”.
Allegations against Sim were a rebuttal to critical descriptions of the PAS-Umno alliance sealed last weekend. The DAP leader was said to have called the pact a klepto-theocracy and that the two parties exploit religion to gain support.
The phrase “Kingdom of God”, or Kingdom of Heaven, occurs frequently in the New Testament, primarily attributed to Jesus Christ in the first three Gospels.
Tuan Ibrahim allegations appear to be from a column published in Harakah Daily, PAS’s official organ, in which political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff claimed Sim had spoken at length about Christianity’s Kingdom of God while criticising the PAS-Umno pact.
He said the DAP leader’s criticism of the cooperation between the country’s two biggest Malay Opposition parties was duplicitous as the latter was also riding on religion by promoting Christianity.