“I implore them not to procrastinate on this matter like the authorities are doing with respect to an alleged Christian plot in Penang recently to dethrone Islam,” said the titular head of the diocese of Melaka-Johor, who is concurrently president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia.
“Please quickly furnish proof of this claim so that Christians can take the appropriate corrective action and tender the requisite apologies, or do the obverse which is demand that an apology be issued for false accusation,” said Bishop Paul Tan (left) said in remarks made to Malaysiakini.
“This campaign of innuendo and insinuation against Christians' subscription to a cardinal tenet of our constitutional structure, which is the respect for Islam as the federation's official religion has gone on long enough,” he asserted.
“It's high time these claims be proven to be substantive in which case Christians can take the necessary corrective and contrite action, or demand that Christian bashing be condemned and stopped,” said the Jesuit-trained prelate.
He noted with “great distress that that person who has preferred these accusations is from PAS - a party that these days is inclined to unify the Malaysian people rather than divide along them along sectarian lines.”
“Although a former president of this party (Mohd Asri Muda) was responsible in the early 1970s for the base canard that Christians were a greater threat to Malaysia than the communists, the party has since markedly altered its perspective and stand on national questions,” said the bishop.
“Like many Malaysians, I wholeheartedly welcome this liberating development, which is why I am greatly distressed that the latest round of accusations against Christians emanates from their quarter.”
Is it true or false?
Bishop Paul Tan further noted that PAS is a party that upholds morality in public and private conduct.
“No Christian worth his or her salt would ever be against this principle in life. Too often in politics, we are faced with people who make a pretense of public virtue while being squalid in private morals,” he continued.
“That this is not the case with PAS is something that their spiritual leader has sought by word and deed to transmit to the Malaysian people. We are greatly edified by his endeavour.
“This is why, ironically, the fact that the accusation stems from their quarter raises hope of its decisive and final adjudication: Is it true or is it false?” he said referring to Selangor exco Hasan Ali (left), who yesterday backed the Jais raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.
“This uncertainty has been going on for too long now it has furnished grounds for agent provocateurs to foist their poisons on the body politic.
“This must stop either by Christians desisting from unconstitutional conduct or by their accusers being made to account for the falsity of their claims. There are no two ways about this.
“However, I must emphasise it is the right of a person to believe in whatever he or she chooses to. Religion can be proposed but never imposed. That is respect for the sanctity of individual conscience.”