A Johor assemblyperson has called for English daily The Star to be suspended over Saturday’s front page, claiming that it hurt the feelings of the country’s Muslims.
Umno Kempas assemblyperson Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Jumat in a statement today also asked the owners of The Star to “revamp the current editorial management of the newspaper to better oversee matters relating to Islam”.
Tengku Putra claimed the daily had “acted against the peace of the state and that what the newspaper did could incite public disorder”.
The Star is to meet the Home Ministry today over the said front page, which featured the headline news ‘Malaysian Terrorist Leader’, along with its separate front-page photo feature of Muslims in prayer to mark the start of Ramadan on Saturday.
The juxtaposition of the two provoked several complaints from readers over the weekend, followed by politicians from both sides of the divide, who condemned the daily for allegedly perpetuating negative perceptions of Islam.
The Star yesterday issued an apology for its poor judgement.
Regardless, Tengku Putra urged the ministry to take tough action against the daily.
“The Star has hurt the feelings of Muslims in the country. No more show cause letters should be issued. They (The Star) must be dealt with sternly.
“The home minister should take any action necessary according to the provisions under his jurisdiction without sidestepping or prancing around the issue while others arrogantly tap dance in the faces of Muslims and Islam.
“Any action taken should be in good faith and righteously according to one’s official responsibility in the interest of national harmony, no matter how risky it may look,” he said.
‘No more show cause letters’
The Umno assemblyperson also cited past incidents involving the daily, for example the August 2011 articles on pork ribs, which are non-halal, in their Ramadan delights supplement.
February 2012, the paper published a full-page photograph of singer Erykah Badu sporting an ‘Allah’ tattoo, he recalled.
“On both occasions, The Star was left with just a soft tap on the wrist,” he said.
Tengku Putra called for the publication to be “dealt with severely” in accordance to the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984
He added, “(Action should be taken against The Star) before terrorism really strikes on home soil.
“No prizes for the right guess on its target.”