Malaysian PM counsels calm on `Christian takeover’ reports

May 9th, 2011 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, May 9 (IANS) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has appealed for calm after postings on blogs claimed that opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) was “to elect a Christian prime minister and turn Malaysia into a Christian country”.

The prime minister said as religion was a sensitive issue in Malaysia, “nobody should cash in on anything arising from it as this could cause tension among the people”, the New Straits Times quoted Najib as saying in Jakarta, before ending his visit to Indonesia.

Failure to keep this in check, he said, would eventually cause serious polarisation in society.

Malaysia, he said, held on to the tenets of the federal constitution which placed Islam as the official religion while allowing others to practise their respective faiths freely, he said.

“This is among the critical pillars that we subscribe to and which cannot be questioned. We’ll not allow any parties to threaten the country’s harmony.”

“Calm down, whoever it is, whether they are the opposition or pro-government. They cannot and should not exploit this issue; it will not benefit anyone,” he said, adding that investigations into the matter would be carried out.

The matter came to light when a Bahasa Malaysia daily newspaper front-paged a report, quoting largely from two blogs, that a DAP leader had met a group of Christian pastors in Penang state where a pledge was made “to elect a Christian prime minister and turn Malaysia into a Christian country”, the newspaper said.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has called the claim “a blatant lie”.

The DAP is a major opposition party headed by ethnic Indian lawyer-lawmaker Karpal Singh.

Organisers of the function also said no such thing occurred. The Catholic Church in Malaysia also said that no venue belonging to the church had been used for any such function.

Multi-racial Malaysia has a majority of Malay Muslims, with sizable population of ethnic Chinese and Indians who practise different faiths.

There are 2.1 million Indians, mostly Tamils, who form eight percent of the 28 million population.

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