Guan Eng To Sue Utusan Malaysia And Shabudin
Feb 24 (Bernama)
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today denied that the state government had formed the Inter-Faith Consultative Council and described the report on its formation as defaming the state government.
Angered by the front-page report in the Malay daily Utusan Malaysia on the matter, Lim, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bagan, planned to sue the newspaper and President of the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP), Shabudin Yahya.
"The Penang state government has never formed the Inter-Faith Consultative Council as mentioned by (MAINPP) President Shabudin. I don't know from which source he obtained that stated that we have set up the consultative council.
"I will instruct my lawyer to sue Utusan Malaysia and Shabudin. I feel this has gone too far and is unacceptable.
"We will meet in court. I will ask Utusan (Malaysia) and Shabudin to reply and pay compensation and appropriate damages and also to make a public apology.
"Although there is a question mark (on the headline), in law, this is also considered as defamatory because there is no Inter-Faith Consultative Council (formed). If there is proof, we will meet in court.
"I chaired the exco (State Executive Council) meeting, I know what is going on in the state government," he said at a press conference at the Parliament lobby, here.
In the press report, Shabudin claimed that the council was set up last year when the opposition coalition led by Lim took over the administration of Penang and it was seen as an attempt to insult Islam by placing it on par with the other faiths and that it must be stopped.
Lim said the suit against Utusan Malaysia and Shabudin would be filed in his capacity as the Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general.
"I know that they will use the issue for the coming by-elections and we won't allow them to spread such lies," he added.
Meanwhile in BUKIT MERTAJAM, Shabudin clarified that his statement on the consultative council was based on reports published in the newspapers earlier.
He said he had proof to support his statement yesterday which called for a stop on the formation of the council as it placed Islam on par with the other faiths.
"I obtained information on the council through reports published in the press," he said when asked to comment on Lim's statement which was quoted from the Malaysiakini website which refuted the formation of the council.
Asked on Lim's plan to sue the Utusan Melaysia which published the report on the formation of the council, Lim said: "If he wants to sue, go ahead. We have proof."
Shabudin was today quoted by Utusan Malaysia as saying that the attempt to place Islam on equal footing with the other faiths was an obvious insult on Islam.
Later in the afternoon, DAP Members of Parliament Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun, Chong Eng (Bukit Mertajam) and Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang) lodged a police report on the matter at the Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur at 4.30pm.