I didn’t start fight with Hannah Yeoh, says UUM lecturer

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff says Selangor state speaker should have engaged him in a debate about the book instead of filing a police report, and have DAP attack him.

(FMT) – The lecturer who had accused Selangor state assembly speaker Hannah Yeoh of trying to proselytise the public with her personal autobiography, said he was a victim of DAP’s “hypocrisy”.

Offering his side of the story, Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said he had never intended to start a war with DAP.

Neither did he expect that what started off as a personal academic analysis of Yeoh’s book, would later make him a target of personal attacks by the opposition party.

“Everyone is pinning the blame on me for starting this controversy,” he said to FMT.

“But what I did initially, was to write my personal opinion on Yeoh’s book, which I uploaded on my personal Facebook page before others picked it up and published it.

“And in that article, I didn’t highlight anything about a Christian agenda. I just highlighted DAP’s inconsistency when it comes to the party’s stand on secularism.”

In the article in question, Kamarul had said that Yeoh, in her autobiography titled “Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey by Hannah Yeoh”, had mixed politics with religion which went against the concept of secularism.

He also said Yeoh had revealed how she used her political position to preach about Christianity, and claimed she had urged other Christians to join politics in order to rebuild Malaysia in a “Christian mould”.

This, he added, showed that DAP’s fight for secularism only wanted Islam to be out of politics, but not other religions, such as Christianity.

Kamarul said that he had hoped that Yeoh would engage him in an academic-based debate, but the latter had instead reacted by lodging a police report against him on May 15.

“It is illogical to say my writing is defamatory against her and that it is a threat to her and DAP members’ safety, as it had no influence (on anyone).

“And what is regretted is that many of those who commented on the article either condemned my writing saying that it’s stupid, among other things, without fully arguing on the real substance of the matter or even worse, character assassinated me.

“By right she (Yeoh) should debate professionally with me.”

This is especially as DAP has been talking about freedom of speech and expression all this while, he said.

“But when I exercised my rights, based on these freedoms, they lodged a report against me, and resorted to personal attacks,” he said, adding that the May 17 police report he lodged against Yeoh, which accused her of attempting to proselytise through her book, was made to defend himself.

He also stood by his report, in which he said Yeoh had committed an offence under Section 4(1)(a) of Selangor’s Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1998 which bars proselytisation to Muslims.

The Enactment states that a person would have committed an offence if he persuades, influences or incites a Muslim to “be inclined” or “become a follower or a member” of a non-Islamic religion or to “forsake or disfavour Islam”.

“There is no provision requiring evidence that the Muslims who read the book had converted as a result of it,” said Kamarul.

“But that is not the main point. The main point is that my first article pointed how the book was proof of DAP’s hypocrisy, where the party claimed to be secular, but is actually not.”