By Lisa J. Ariffin
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Administrators of an Umno Youth fanpage today apologised for its controversial posting on Facebook earlier this month, suggesting that a vote for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will result in Christianity becoming the country’s official religion.
The fanpage on the popular social networking site had featured a poster that had read: “Jika anda setuju untuk jadikan KRISTIAN sebagai agama rasmi persekutuan Malaysia, teruskan sokongan anda kepada Pakatan Rakyat. God bless you my son.”
[Translation: If you agree to make CHRISTIANITY the official religion of the federation of Malaysia, continue supporting Pakatan Rakyat. God bless you my son.]
“Kami minta maaf secara terbuka kepada semua rakyat atas kesilapan mengeluarkan gambar yang tidak patut pada 17/18 Aug 2012. Admin itu sudah dikeluarkan dari fanpage,” the page’s administrators wrote in a posting late last night, just hours after Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin told the media that he was closing in on the culprit behind the poster.
[Translation: We publicly apologise to all Malaysians over our mistake in publishing inappropriate content on August 17/18. The admin involved has been removed from the fanpage.]
The post, however, was met with mockery from netizens, who saw the apology as a contradiction to Khairy’s statement last week that the wing did not have an official Facebook page.
Khairy had even lodged a police report, claiming that the person who put up the poster with the controversial remarks was “unauthorised” to do so and that the page was not the youth wing’s official Facebook page.
“Khairy cakap akaun palsu... Rupanya akaun betul la nih. Siap buat report polis bagai akaun palsu. Senang-senang je nak bodoh-bodohkan kami ye... Siapa admin yg kena remove tuh?? Cepat dedahkan siapa... Memburukan imej Pemuda Umno...,” Nur Miba commented on the post.
[Translation: Khairy said this is a false account... When in actual fact it is a real account. He even made a police report as though it was a fake account. Think it’s so easy to fool us... Who is the admin who was removed? Reveal him immediately... This tarnishes the image of Umno Youth...]
“Hampeh betul la korang ni. Monyusahkan… tak mengaku, lepas tu mengaku. Bangang,” said Shauqie Kharip.
[Translation: You are all so unreliable. Troublesome... Don’t admit it, then admit it. Stupid.]
If Umno Youth is brought to court over the “unauthorised” Facebook post, it would be a test case for the newly enforced Section 114A of the Evidence Act that has already seen widespread opposition from the public.
Section 114A makes even coffee shops offering a free Wi-Fi service liable for any defamatory or criminal acts of customers using computers on their premises.
The new law creates a presumption that any registered user of network services is presumed to be the publisher of a publication sent from a computer linked to that network service, if he cannot show otherwise.
The Section also provides that any “person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is presumed to have published or re-published the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved.”
The controversial Facebook post had appeared to suggest that a vote for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will catapult Christianity into Islam’s unquestioned position as Malaysia’s dominant religion, showing that faith is still being used to scare off the crucial Malay-Muslim vote in the run-up to national polls.
The picture is a reminder of Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, which last year placed on its front page an unsubstantiated report suggesting that the DAP was conspiring with the Church to install a Christian as prime minister and create a Christian Malaysian state.
It triggered an uproar on the popular social network with some cyber citizens, supporting the statement and others condemning Umno Youth for attempting to fan emotions and religious sentiments between Christians and Muslims on the eve of Aidilfitri, one of the biggest holidays in multicultural Malaysia’s calendar.
PR opposition leaders have also slammed Umno Youth for the incendiary message and demanded that party president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak take action to rein in the wing.
The provocative posting was taken down about 6.30pm last Saturday, after drawing nearly 300 comments on the Facebook page.