(Malaysiakini) - Several NGOs have lodged police reports on allegedly inflammatory comments posted on the Malaysiakini website, threatening to hold protests in front of its office as well as that of the Home Ministry's if no action is taken.
"Some 200 subscribers used pseudonyms in Malaysiakini to criticise and lower the status of Islam.
"This would have consequences and bring chaos to this peaceful country," read three largely identical police reports from each NGO.
Malaysian Muslim People's Coalition (IRIMM), Dewan Ekonomi dan Sosial Muslim Malaysia (Desmma) and Malaysian Muslim Consumer's Association (PPIM) lodged the reports together at the Dang Wangi police district headquarters, Kuala Lumpur, at around 2.30pm today.
A representative from the Malaysian Indian Muslim Missionary Council (MIM) was also present to endorse the complaint.
The report refers to readers' comments posted on Aug 22 regarding in an article titled ‘Police reports against JAIPP for 'body-snatching''.
"They (Malaysiakini subscribers) said in one comment, ‘Umno has turned Islam into a mafia religion.' What is this?
"These people are trying to act funny in this country.
"We don't want these kinds of things to happen in this country," said IRIMM president Amir Amsaa Alla Pitchay (left), commenting on one of several readers he quoted.
"(They said) a lot of things, you know. I didn't print them all out... We want Malaysiakini to put a stop to such things. We don't want these kind of things.
"We will send a memorandum to the Home Ministry and we will protest in front of their office (in Putrajaya) for allowing such comments," he said.
He added that the protest is tentatively scheduled for next week, and he would try to get more NGOs on board.
"We will protest in front of Malaysiakini as well if they don't do anything about this issue," he said.
'Don't publish sensitive issues'
In the Wednesday article, Malaysiakini reported that a group of Hindu devotees lodged police reports against Penang Islamic Affairs Department (JAIPP) for confiscating the ashes of M Nagamah, who was cremated in accordance to Hindu rites.
Her family claims that she had lived and died as a Hindu, while South Seberang Perai (SPS) Religious Department said records show that she had converted to Islam in 2006.
Nagamah's family wishes to conduct the ‘karumakirei' ceremony on the remains, which is to be held 14 days after her death on Aug 28, after which the ashes would be strewn into a nearby river.
Amir Amsaa said that any criticism of the matter should be directed at JAIPP, but not Islam itself.
Desmma president Mohd Fazil Abdullah (right), who lodged one of the reports, also urged Malaysiakini not to publish such sensitive issues.
He described the issue as an ‘isolated case' in which the deceased had not informed her next-of-kin of her conversion and the online news portal should not have played it up.
"We urge Malaysiakini to stop giving space to statements that could affect the harmony, sensitivities and tolerance within Malaysia's multiethnic society," he said.
Effigy of Karpal Singh
Meanwhile, MIM secretary general Mohammed Shariff Ghani noted that ‘body snatching' allegations are not new and urged Muslim converts to take necessary precautions.
"I recommend whoever who converts into Islam to contact the relevant religious departments and to practice the religion. Don't cause an issue when you pass away," said Mohammed Shariff (right).
He stressed that no Muslim would condone another Muslim being cremated because it is against the religion's beliefs.
On a separate issue raised during the same press conference outside the district police headquarters, IRIMM secretary-general Zainol Abidin Ahmad said a protest could be held against DAP chairperson Karpal Singh next week for allegedly questioning hudud law.
"We may do a protest in Pulau Pinang against Karpal Singh where we would probably burn his effigy," said Zainol Abidin (left).
When asked, he said the protest is slated to take place after Friday prayers in Teluk Air Tawar, Butterworth.
"We warn the DAP chairperson not to play with fire. Do not press Malaysian Muslims on sensitive issues about religion and religious laws to be point of turning the issue into a racial conflict," he said, urging Karpal to apologise.
He alleged in his police report that whilst watching TV recently, some time before the Raya celebrations, Karpal was shown questioning hudud.