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Church raid: It’s a state matter, say MPs

 | August 6, 2011

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's 'prompt' action in containing the controversial raid on a church by JAIS has received a round of approval from Pakatan MPs.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat parliamentarians have distanced themselves from the recent raid on a church by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) saying it had nothing to do with the coalition.

Four Pakatan MPs – Tian Chua, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Dzulkifli Ahmad and Liew Chin Tong – said that the contentious raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) was a state matter.

They suggested that the media refer their questions to the Selangor Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim.

“I know that the press is interested in such matters, but there are many other issues to look at.

“We are Pakatan leaders who are attached to the budget.

“It (the raid) is not in our purview. To us the matter is a state matter and Pakatan cannot intervene with very state matter,” said Tian Chua, during a press conference to reveal the coalition’s plan for a strategic budget.

The MPs added that the Pakatan-lead Selangor state should be the one to disclose developments in the raid-related issue.

They did however praise Khalid for his prompt response to the matter.

“We respect and are grateful for the MB’s respond. He reacted with such speed and clarity,” said Nurul Izzah.

On Wednesday night, more than 30 police and JAIS officers raided DUMC’s Section 13 premises in Petaling Jaya.

They disrupted a thanksgiving-cum-HIV/AIDS fundraising dinner which was being hosted by NGO, Harapan Komuniti.

The event was attended by more than 100 people, including 15 Malays.

Renewed allegations

Following the ensuing public uproar, Khalid expressed his regret over the incident and assured Selangor citizens that the state ‘fully’ respected the freedom of religion and the rights of all religious groups.

But barely a few hours after his statement, Selangor Islamic Affairs councillor Hasan Ali came to the defense of Jais.

He said the raid was justified and was based on allegations that Christians were attempting to convert Muslims.

Khalid immediately put a gag order on all Selangor councillors and directed them to refrain from commenting on the issue.

He said the matter would be raised with the Sultan of Selangor.

But the conflicting statements didn’t escape critics and it spawned renewed allegations of cracks within the Pakatan coalition.

In an immediate reaction, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek slammed Hasan and PAS, a member of the ruling Selangor government

Chua said the incident was a “reminder to non-Muslims that PAS was not as liberal as it claims to be”.

He also demanded that Hasan apologise and further criticized the DAP for dragging its feet in condemning the raid.


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