Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has given Berita Harian and New Straits Times 48 hours to retract and apologise over their reports involving the appointment of former state mufti Hassan Ahmad.
The reports quoted Penang PAS Youth chief Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden who accused Lim of “political interference” in the mufti’s appointment.
Lim denied he was involved in the appointment, saying the person for the post was recommended by state executive councillor on Islamic affairs, Abdul Malik Kassim.
He said recommendation for the individual was also endorsed by PKR de facto leader and former Permatang Pauh MP Anwar Ibrahim.
“The two newspapers must openly apologise to me in 48 hours as their reports were slanderous to me,” Lim said at a press conference.
“There had been too many slanderous reports against me and I have no time to take action on all of them but this is a big issue.”
Asked why he did not do the same to Afnan, who uttered the remarks, Lim replied “Why waste time?”.
“Why should I alleviate these people? They are willing to spew lies because the newspapers print what they say. The reason why these people come out because their lies are printed, so the newspapers have to bear the responsibility,” he added.
“Or else, the newspapers can quote any person on the street, where would we end? They are master liars”.
Lim said certain quarters were willing to slander and lie about him because he is a non-Muslim.
‘Kelantan a failed state under PAS’
Lim stressed that PAS was willing to be used to cover BN and its own weaknesses.
He said PAS had failed in Kelantan, where flood victims have yet to be provided with houses.
Lim added that the state government allowed logging activities, which led to flooding because they are unable to fill their coffers.
“Kelantan is a failed state because of PAS. To cover all these weaknesses, PAS is willing to be used to play with racist sentiments. It is morally wrong and against Islam to play with racist sentiments,” he said.
In the reports published on Sunday, Jan 29, Afnan said Lim had a hand in ensuring that the former state mufti’s contract was not renewed.
The reports quoted Afnan as saying that Hassan’s contract was not renewed because the latter had objected to Lim’s orders that non-Muslims in Penang be allowed to use the word “Allah”.
In December 2014, Lim had issued a statement allowing non-Muslim to use the word “Allah” in Penang.
But Afnan said this violated Section 48 of the state’s Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2004.
According to the former member of the state mufti committee, Lim had allegedly demanded that the state executive council be informed of fatwa before they are submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“Hassan had reportedly objected to the order, and soon after his contract was not renewed,” Afnan had said in the Sunday press conference.
Accompanying him at the press conference was Penang PAS commissioner Fauzi Yusuf.