KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Politicians must refrain from endorsing media on ethnic grounds, MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu said today.
Gan voiced concern over Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakop’s recent call for party members to support Utusan Malaysia, saying that it would only encourage the Malay daily to further its “ethno-centric” agenda.
“I am deeply saddened to learn that Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakop has called on Umno members to openly support Utusan Malaysia because the daily purportedly defends Malay rights.
“Of late, Utusan Malaysia appears to be trying to rewrite the fundamental tenets of what responsible reporting entails ... It crossed the line with its coverage of the “Christian State” issue recently, earning a reprimand from the Home Ministry, after causing unnecessary alarm and anxiety among the different races in the country,” said the MCA leader in reference to the daily’s claims of an unsubstantiated plot to install a Christian prime minister.
Gan warned that Ismail’s open endorsement of Utusan would only damage the newspaper’s credibility and reaffirm the belief that it is nothing but a media tool of Umno.
Utusan Malaysia, in an article entitled “Kristian Agam Rasmi?” (Christianity the official religion?) claimed that DAP leaders and Christian priests were conspiring to take over Putrajaya, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.
The Home Ministry eventually only slapped Utusan Malaysia with a warning letter for publishing the unsubstantiated report.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali waded into the controversy last Saturday night when he threatened Christians nationwide that he would wage a crusade or holy war should they proceed with their alleged agenda to usurp Islam.
Previously, Utusan Malaysia called on its owners Umno to spearhead a 1 Melayu, 1 Bumi movement involving all Malay parties, claiming that the DAP is intent on toppling the country’s Malay leadership.
Utusan Malaysia has also told Barisan Nasional (BN) to ignore the Chinese community for not supporting the ruling coalition during last month’s Sarawak state election.