KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh today said she has been made a target for criticism because of her ethnicity, her political association, and her religion.

The Segambut MP was commenting on the recent controversy over the “Jom Ziarah” programme organised by an agency under her ministry that seeks to foster and promote interfaith understanding and harmony by taking youths to visit different houses of worship.

“I would like to assure everyone here, I know many of you have come across various accusations levelled against me recently, and that I do hope our relationship as MP and constituents would continue to persevere,” she said during a mock cheque handover ceremony for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.


Yeoh who trained as a lawyer said she understood clearly what the Federal Constitution and laws in Malaysia entailed, adding that she has been an elected representative since 2008.

She was first elected as an assemblyman before becoming an MP for Segambut in 2018, which she defended successfully in GE15 last November.

“I truly understand what the law says and I will never do something against it.


“The programme has existed since the PN government,” she said, referring to the Perikatan Nasional coalition, and adding “but I am now being made a target because I am a Chinese, [from] DAP and a Christian”.

Jom Ziarah Gereja is Malay for “Let’s visit a church”.

Yeoh has said that it was part of a string of programmes under the Jom Ziarah initiative — which was run by Impact Integrated, an agency affiliated with Yeoh’s ministry — that was meant to bring participants to visit various places of worship.

On March 14, Yeoh in the Dewan Rakyat stressed that the “Jom Ziarah” event for the church will not involve any Muslim youths.

She pointed out that the previous Jom Ziarah events to visit a mosque on March 4 were attended by eight Chinese and Indian youths, and only three Chinese youths had visited a gurdwara on March 11 under the programme.

Yeoh said there were no Muslims among the participants of the Jom Ziarah events, also stressing that the programme is not meant to equalise the positions of any religions, and is merely intended to enable learning about the differences between the various religions to enable multiracial and multireligious Malaysians to live more harmoniously together.