GEORGE TOWN: Penang Opposition leader Jahara Hamid claimed her comments in the state assembly over a Chinese shrine at a renovated public park had been “spun out of context” by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in a news portal.
“Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told Malaysiakini that I had asked for the shrine to be demolished.
“I have never used the word ‘roboh’ (demolish).
“While I agree to freedom of religion, all I said was a public park should be free of deities or places of worship.
“A shrine cannot be incorporated into a concept park.
“Now, Air Putih (Lim) has spun the statement out of context.
“Let’s not sensationalise this,” she said while interjecting A Thanasekaran’s (DAP-Bagan Dalam) debate on the motion of thanks to the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.
Lim (DAP-Air Putih) then stood up and said Jahara had indeed asked for the shrine, commonly known as “Datuk Kong” to be relocated.
An irate Jahara then badgered Lim again to retract his statement, saying she had never asked for the shrine to be demolished.
Lim then asked Jahara if she would retract her suggestion that the shrine should be removed.
“Now, with the MCA attacking me, calling me a coward over this … They are not after you, the Opposition leader,” Lim said.
Lim then read out a copy of the Hansard on Jahara’s shrine debate on Friday in an attempt to prove that Jahara had indeed insinuated that the shrine must be removed.
Jahara replied in the negative.
“Okay, if you retract your statement on the ‘demolition’, then I too will retract my statement on the shrine,”
The august house erupted in laughter, with Lim saying it was an attempt by Jahara to neutralise her wrongs.
Deputy Speaker Maktar Sapee then told both parties to stand down to allow Thanasekaran to continue with his debate.
Thanasekaran then stood up and told Jahara: “You owe an apology to the Chinese community over your statement.”
Jahara remained quiet. Thanasekaran resumed his debate.