On Facebook, Umno Youth risks igniting religious firestorm
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — A picture posted on Umno Youth’s official Facebook page yesterday suggesting a vote for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact will catapult Christianity into Islam’s unquestioned position as Malaysia’s religion shows faith is still being used as a bogey to scare off the crucial Malay-Muslim vote in the run-up to national polls.
The controversial poster had read: “Jika anda setuju untuk jadikan KRISTIAN sebagai agama rasmi persekutuan Malaysia, teruskan sokongan anda kepada Pakatan Rakyat. (If you agree to make CHRISTIANITY the official religion of the federation of Malaysia, continue supporting Pakatan Rakyat.) ‘God bless you my son’.”
The picture, posted yesterday afternoon, provoked an uproar on the popular social network with some cyber citizens supporting the statement and others condemning the Umno youth wing for attempting to fan emotions and religious sentiments between Christians and Muslims on the eve of Aidilfitri, one of the biggest holidays in multicultural Malaysia’s calendar.
“Bodo punya pemuda umno, dah terang2 dlm perlembagaan Islam agama rasmi....DAP pun sokong perlembagaan, sj je nak nak tunjuk bodo! Tp DAP sependapat dgn umno ttg hudud, tu je... (Stupid Umno Youth, it’s clear in the Constitution Islam is the official religion…DAP also supports the Constitution, they are only showing their stupidity! But DAP shares Umno’s view about hudud, that’s all…)” said a social networker identified only as Mohd Ghazali in the Umno Youth Facebook page.
“Org islam/melayu pun x sokong dgn gambar nie...so, someone go report this admin to police station...this is serious matter...boleh masuk ISA nie kalo ISA masih wujud,” said another netizen who called herself Ellvin Jesele.
A Facebooker identified only as Firdaus Adnan had posted a derogatory comment on the DAP, one of the three opposition parties that make up PR, accusing its chairman, Karpal Singh, of repeatedly insulting Islam but without providing proof to back up his claim.
“Babi punya DAP jgn nk kait dap k.karpal sigh hram jdah byk kali hina islm. org islm bleh wt apa? dap komunis mlaysia. (DAP’s Karpal Singh has repeatedly insulted Islam. What can Muslims do? DAP is Malaysian communist.),” the social networker said in the Umno Youth Facebook page.
He was not alone as another Facebook user, Agazaman Awang, also appeared to back Umno’s implied warning to Muslim Malaysians not to support PR.
“Orang yang kata pisahkan politik dari agama aadlah tak berpijak di bumi yang nyata. sedangkan apa yang kita perjuangkan seperti agama bangsa dan negara matlamat politik kita. bagaiamana kamu hendak pisakan islam dari politik melainkan kamu ada agenda lain dalam politik unutk kepentingan peribadi. (People who say that politics should be separated from religion are not being realistic. When what we are fighting for, like religion race and country, is our political goals. So how can you separate Islam from politics unless you have a different political agenda for personal interests.)
The DAP has been repeatedly portrayed as anti-Islam due to its opposition to the enforcement of Islamic penal laws by the mainstream media controlled by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and its mainstay, Umno.
The latest controversy comes in the wake of a heated debate over the establishment of an Islamic theocracy in Malaysia, to enforce Islamic penal laws known as hudud to what is seen as a bid to win over the crucial Malay Muslim vote at the 13th general elections that must be called by next April.
The picture uploaded onto Umno Youth’s official Facebook page was a reminder of Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, which last year placed on its front page an unsubstantiated report suggesting that the DAP was conspiring with the Church to install a Christian as prime minister and create a Christian Malaysian state.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has denied that the picture was uploaded by members of his team or that the wing supported the statement.
“That was not sanctioned by Umno Youth. The FB page is not administered by Umno Youth anymore. I am trying to find out who is responsible for this,” he told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.
The offensive picture was removed from the Facebook wall at about 6.30pm, but not before Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had remarked on it.
“Tdk waras utk nyalakan sengketa antara agama. (It is not proper to ignite a quarrel between religions.),” the de facto head of PKR said on his Twitter account @anwaribrahim when asked to comment on the issue by another Twitter user, @kayheshyutaibah.