KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — A PAS MP maintained today that a forum held at a church on September 14 was used as a platform for political propaganda, rejecting a panellist and Christian group saying otherwise.
Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari insisted the “New Malaysia Narrative” forum held at the Mega Chinese Methodist Church in Kota Damansara, Selangor was political in nature, suggesting the panellists and organisers be investigated for allegedly cultivating hate among the public.
“To me, the forum is political in nature and instilling not love but hatred among the people.
“PAS has been put into the wrong spotlight as an extremist party because of PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man’s calling for the forum to be investigated,” he said in a statement here, which was published in PAS’ mouthpiece Harakah Daily.
The Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) yesterday criticised Tuan Ibrahim for insinuating that the church social forum used for the purpose of political propaganda.
In rebutting Tuan Ibrahim’s claim, CCM clarified that the event was part of the church’s Malaysia Day observance to assist its members to contribute to nation building by participating in a shared narrative.
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong, who attended the forum as one of the speakers, was accused of zealously promoting the “Kingdom of God”, a Christian concept of a spiritual realm over which God reigns or the fulfilment of God’s will on Earth.
Tuan Ibrahim claimed that 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 phrase Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven, occurs frequently in the New Testament, primarily attributed to Jesus Christ in the first three Gospels.
In response, Sim said yesterday his reference to the Bible during the forum 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 proposes the establishment of a Christian government as claimed by Tuan Ibrahim.
Sim said his speech 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.
Ahmad Fadhli then posed several questions to Sim and the forum’s organisers, challenging them to explain how the event was apolitical when a panellist allegedly questioned the prominence of Islam in History textbooks used in Malaysia as well as the special privileges of the Malays.
“Not political and intending to cultivate love for the country when forum panelists questioned the history textbook as allegedly containing too much elements of Islam?
“Not political and intending to cultivate love for the country when forum panelists proposed that the history textbook syllabus is changed to include more elements of Christianity?
“Not political and intending to cultivate love for the country when the forum panelists questioned the history textbooks that stated the Alliance Party was the one that obtain independence for this country?
“Will the organisers and panellists answer these questions that I posed,” he demanded.
He said the alleged topics alone were sufficient for the police to investigate.
Malay-Muslim conservative groups here have consistently spoken out against Christianisation, human rights, and religious pluralism as alleged threats to the Malay-Muslim community in recent years.
Last month, Gerakan Pembela Ummah, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups, had listed several issues it deems “major threats” against the majority community, which included Christian evangelism.