Updated (with additions) at 2pm
A newspaper’s role is to publish reliable news for its readers. Any news report must be verified, especially those that can cause damage to certain groups of people or even individuals.
Utusan’s accusation is serious, very serious indeed. History has shown us again and again that religious conflicts are more damaging and difficult to contain than racial conflicts. Unless this newspaper can substantiate its claim, the government must take action against the writer and the newspaper, for failure to do so would not only embolden further acts to damage religious and racial harmony, it would also be perceived that the government is tacitly condoning such divisive acts.
Any religious confrontation, which can be incited by such news reporting, can lead to an explosive situation that none of us, who love this country of ours, would like to see. I hope calm minds will prevail and so far, Malaysians have reacted calmly and that is a good sign.
I believe no one in their sane mind would advocate such a move as reported by the newspaper since everything about religion is clearly spelt out in the Constitution.
If the paper cannot substantiate its claims, then it is actually commiting an act that can incite and divide the people. If it is so, action must be taken against the papers and those people involved in writing and publishing them.
Otherwise, the pretense that we are a country ruled by law will be further eroded and no one would ever believed in such thing as justice and fairness anymore.
(Editor’s note: Religion is a sensitive issue and I hope that in commenting, we should not belittle any religions. This has in fact nothing to do with religions but everything to do with politics. )
If what is published is hearsay, and PM does not act, it will be seen as either one of 2 things:
1. he is actually condoning the act
2. He is powerless to act for fear of losing support within his own supreme council.
If it is due to reason No. 2, and if he is sincere about his 1malaysia, he should exert leadership and be tough and take action against the culprits.
The position of PM in Malaysia is a very powerful post, and with all the institutions in his control, I doubt whether he would face revolt if he actually takes action against Utusan top brass. Just arrest the culprits under existing sedition law, and it would be a case of killing the chicken to warn the monkey.
The fact that nothing is done will give an impression that he is perhaps using this paper to try to gain Malay and Muslim support. (reason No. 1)
But then, this is really dangerous.
It is also a time for component parties to show the importance of their representation within the coalition, since they have been talking so much about ‘representation’. They are still represented in the government and if they cannot do anything to rein in Utusan, then it will prove that their representation is worse than no representation, as I have argued earlier on ; in which case, it is no longer important or relevant to vote for them to represent the minority interest within the government.