DAP, PKR still wary over church raid despite PAS’s stand

(The Malaysian Insider) – DAP and PKR leaders refrained today from openly supporting PAS’s stand on a controversial church raid by Islamic authorities, revealing the continuing uneasiness among the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties over religious issues.

When contacted by The Malaysian Insider today, some leaders chose to decline comment while others would not openly state their support or rejection of the Islamist party’s statement yesterday.

The leaders told this news portal that speculation at this point would be premature as the details of the raid and the investigation by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on reports of proselytisation have yet to be publicly revealed.

PAS decided after its political bureau meeting yesterday to back Jais if the agency should find concrete proof that Christians were proselytising to Muslims at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya.

“I think let’s wait for the report first. We don’t know the details,” said DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, before choosing not to speak further on the topic.

Lim had earlier lambasted PAS’s Datuk Hasan Ali, the Selangor state executive councillor for religious affairs, when the latter issued a statement justifying the raid by claiming proof of proselytisation had been found.

The DAP veteran then accused the Islamist party leader of breaking ranks with the Selangor state government as his statement appeared to contradict that of Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who had said he regretted the incident.

Selangor’s Islamic enactments allow the religious authorities to act against non-Muslims if they are found guilty of proselytising to Muslims.

When contacted, DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke also declined comment today and said he would refer the query to Selangor DAP chief Teresa Kok, a devout Christian and a state executive councillor in the Selangor administration.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua would not expressly declare his support for PAS’s firm stand but pointed out that its deputy president, Mohamad Sabu, had said the party would back Jais only if proof of proselytisation was found, adding this was “expressing the obvious”.

“Mat Sabu (Mohamad) said if there if proof of proselytisation — which is indeed restricted by our Constitution — his call for the relevant parties to be charged accordingly is only expressing the obvious; nothing more, nothing less,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Pua stressed, however, that Jais’ investigation must be done in accordance with the law and pressed for the agency to apologise if it finds that it had made a mistake.