PETALING JAYA: A Muslim NGO is the latest to come to Hannah Yeoh’s defence following a claim by a lecturer that the Selangor state speaker’s autobiography was an attempt to promote Christianity.
In an email to FMT, Sisters in Islam (SIS) said that people should not view the biblical quotes as her attempts to preach her religion but instead as a mere sharing of her personal journey.
“The insertions of biblical texts and discussion about her connection with her faith displays her trust and conviction towards her religion in helping her strive to serve the public.”
Yeoh’s autobiography, “Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey”, recently stirred controversy after Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said it would influence him on Christianity as the book has “too many stories and quotations from the Bible”.
Kamarul, who has since lodged a police report against the DAP assemblywoman for proselytising – also said Yeoh’s biography should only be sold in bookstores that sell Christian religious materials.
SIS then trained their guns on Kamarul, stating that his arguments were baseless.
“The arguments presented by Kamarul Zaman lack justification of her intent to proselytise and portrays her in a negative lens especially towards the Muslim community.”
They went on to argue that Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution gives right to all individuals to practice and profess their religion which also includes citizens from other religions.
“Our own faith and religious conviction doesn’t wither by just merely reading an autobiography with excerpts or parables extracted from other religious books.”
SIS isn’t the first to defend Yeoh over her book, which is an account of her life as she rose to prominence after winning the Subang Jaya state seat in 2008 with a huge majority.
Opposition leaders such as DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and PKR Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad had countered Kamarul’s accusations.
On May 15, Yeoh lodged a police report against Kamarul Zaman over an essay he had posted on his Facebook page. She said the posting was defamatory in nature.
The essay – titled “Hannah Yeoh contoh hipokrasi terbesar DAP” (“Hannah Yeoh is the biggest hypocrite in DAP”) – alleged that Yeoh had mixed politics with her Christian faith.
Kamarul Zaman further alleged that this was despite Yeoh’s party being at the forefront in championing secularism.
In her report at the USJ police station, Yeoh alleged that 16 others, including PAS portal Harakahdaily and Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, as well as a number of blogs, had carried the defamatory essay.
Ivy Chong contributed to this article.