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Utusan: Nab religious leaders too, over Bersih 5

 | November 21, 2016

Columnist Awang Selamat says more people should be investigated for sedition and their efforts to overthrow government.


PETALING JAYA: Utusan Malaysia’s Awang Selamat says more people should be investigated for sedition, including missionaries and certain religious houses, over their alleged efforts to overthrow the government.

The call by Awang Selamat – the collective pseudonym for Utusan’s editors – comes in the wake of arrests linked to the Bersih 5 rally.

Though there was no direct mention, it is believed that Awang’s weekly column published yesterday, was alluding to Bishop Bernard Paul, who is head of the Catholic Church’s Malacca-Johor diocese.

Bishop Paul had in October urged people to take part in the rally and “claim (Malaysia) back from destructive leaders”. His comments drew criticisms from various quarters, including politicians.

Awang also commended the government for arresting 24 individuals, including political leaders on the eve of the Bersih 5 rally, adding it was justified in order to keep public order.

“A lot of warnings had been issued and this is the time to take action.”

Awang noted that the turnout for Saturday’s rally was lower than the one held last year.

This, he said, indicated that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) had failed to attract the Malays, adding it means that PAS still had the upper hand in terms of the influence over Malay voters when compared with the collective strength of PPBM, PKR and Amanah.

Awang also said that many hardcore DAP supporters were still uncomfortable with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s appearance at the rally.

The Umno-owned daily then trained its guns on Mahathir, calling out the hypocrisy displayed by Malaysia’s longest serving PM.

“You speak about integrity, but are you clean yourself? Anwar Ibrahim has long ago exposed your extraordinary wealth and that of your family members and cronies. Billions of ringgit were lost in various scandals during your 22-year tenure.”

Mahathir, 91, had urged the people to take to the streets for Bersih 5 despite condemning such actions in the past. He had also made two appearances during the two-day Bersih 4 rally last year.

Awang said the elderly statesman had once labelled Bersih a tool of the opposition and foreign powers that wanted to overthrow the ruling government besides calling billionaire George Soros the enemy of the state.

“Yet, both Bersih and Soros are spoken of favourably now. Where is your self-respect in protecting the country’s sovereignty?” Awang asked Mahathir.


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