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Posted by yahyakehidupan in Latest Breaking News
Tue Aug 28th 2007, 02:41 AM
A few days ago, soon after this matter broke, a campaign by Malaysian Christians started to Say No To Makkal Osai's Suspension

Nathaniel Tan, a Christian blogger who is assistant to Anuar Ibrahim, a major Muslim opposition party leader, wrote an analysis of this on his blog: /

Many other Christian bloggers have condemned the politicians hijacking their faith in this matter, for example
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Posted by yahyakehidupan in Latest Breaking News
Tue Aug 28th 2007, 01:04 AM
I found this forum as I was googling for "Makkal Osai Jesus", hoping to find an online copy of the picture that started this mess, and I found the post that Barrett808 made in the "Latest Breaking News" section, "Anger at Malaysia 'Jesus cartoon'"

I am a Malaysian and I can tell you that it is not at all like you thought.

Malaysian Christians are not up in arms to close down the Makkal Osai newspaper! The Makkal Osai promptly apologized for their mistake (they didn't intend to offend Christians -- they simply grabbed a picture of the Internet and didn't notice the cigarette) and Malaysian Christian leaders quickly accepted their apology.

However, the Makkal Osai had recently been publishing many articles exposing the corruption of a prominent government minister -- Samy Velu, who is also head of the component party of the ruling coalition, Malaysian Indian Congress.

It is for this reason that the government banned the newspaper! Not because of Malaysian Christians! It is a despotic anti-democratic and corrupt government pouncing on an excuse to shut down a newspaper that has been exposing its misdeeds.

Here's an article from MalaysiaKINI, an independent web-based newspaper. This is the only news"paper" out of the government's control because it is online, so there is no publishing license for the government to pull.

Behind the Makkal Osai’s suspension...

Andrew Ong
Aug 25, 07 6:50pm

The Internal Security Ministry’s decision to temporarily suspend the publishing license of Tamil daily Makkal Osai has raised several questions over the motives of the move.

Ministry officials said the suspension was punishment for the daily’s publication of an image of Jesus Christ which was deemed inappropriate and could endanger public order.

But Christian groups who initially protested against the daily however appear to be taken aback by the government’s reaction to the matter.

Thus far, two of Malaysia’s biggest Christian organisations - Roman Catholic Church and the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM), representing Anglicans - have accepted Makkal Osai’s subsequent apology on the matter.

According to Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhsm (MCCBCHS) president A Vaithilingam (left), upon consultation with Christian leaders in the council, found the suspension to be “drastic” for a “genuine error”.

The Roman Catholic Church, Council of Churches and the National Christian Evangelical Fellowship together form the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), which represents some 90 percent of the Malaysian Christian community. CFM is also part of the interfaith group MCCBCHS.

“The matter has been forgiven by Christian leaders and the daily apologised two days in succession. In a matter of days, the ministry ordered for the suspension. I don’t know if they really investigated the matter or not,” Vaithilingam told malaysiakini.

Warning sufficient

Vaithilingam said the MCCBCHS’s position was also made known to a high-ranking Internal Security Ministry official who contacted him yesterday.

“The official said that the prime minister wanted to know our view on the matter. We suggested that a written warning would suffice,” Vaithilingam told malaysiakini.

Similarly, Archbishop Murphy Pakiam (right) said he was “perplexed and bemused” by the suspension.

“Christians believe in reconciliation. We are confident that the newspaper was sincere in its apology and will see to it that this does not happen again,” said Murphy in the New Straits Times today.

Previously, a delegation from Makkal Osai had met with Murphy to explain the matter where the latter had reportedly accepted their apology.

When contacted, CCM secretary-general Rev Dr Hermen Shastri too described the suspension as “drastic” as Makkal Osai had proven they had no ill-intent.

“The consequences of which, innocent people would not be getting their salary (due to the suspension). This is not the Christian way,” he said.

Hermen also questioned why the government had acted so swiftly on this matter but had not tackled other problems in the country, such as investigating the mob who confronted a church in Ipoh.

Political motives?

Makkal Osai, the country’s second best selling Tamil newspaper, published a picture of Jesus Christ purportedly holding a cigarette in one hand and a drink can in the other on the front-page of the daily’s Tuesday edition.

Accompanying the picture was a caption saying: “If someone repents for his mistakes, then heaven awaits him”.

The image and the message was part of the daily’s regular ‘Thought for the Day’ feature which highlighted famous quotations of world leaders and philosophers.

Meanwhile, Makkal Osai general manage M Periasamy (left) in a press statement today alleged that the matter had been blown out of proportion by MIC politicians.

“(Their statements) do not respect the views of Christian leaders who represent Christian groups and have taking advantage of the situation to stir religious sentiments for their political gains,” he said.

Periasamy also alleged that MIC politicians are instigating their members to lodge police reports on Makkal Osai.

‘Strangling the truth’

Makkal Osai is closely aligned to former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam, who is known to be MIC president Samy Vellu’s arch rival.

The daily had consistently produced critical reports against the MIC such as the criticism on the party’s problem-ridden investment arm Maika Holdings, which is due to have a controversial shareholders' meeting next week.

Over the past weeks, Makkal Osai has been running a series of special reports on Maika Holdings.

“(Their attacks against us now) is a ploy to stir up the (controversy over the picture) in order to strangle the truth,” added Periasamy.

He is expected to appeal against the ministry’s suspension on Monday.

The daily has a staff strength of nearly 100. It is understood that a Makkal Osai staff has been suspended indefinitely over the incident.

Makkal Osai is the latest victim in a string of ‘disciplinary actions’ taken media outlets ever since Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also internal security minister, came to power in 2003.
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