Now this news item is disturbing. Catholic church officials were reportedly told to remove religious symbols before Najib attended the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur’s Christmas Day tea party.
See a Malaysian Insider report here.
A church source, however, told me the party was held in the grounds of the archbishop’s residence which is normally used as a car park for neighbouring offices during the week, and thus religious symbols were not an issue.
But the requests or instructions from the PM’s aide(s) reflect the reality of Najib’s 1Malaysia in everyday life.
You want to visit a religious celebration but your aide still wants to dictate terms to the host. Whatever propaganda value for the Najib administration milked out of The Star’s report of the event the following day (which featured a photo of Najib and Rosmah with the Archbishop on page 2) has surely evaporated by now.
Leaders of opposition parties were invited to the tea party but not many showed up apart from second echelon leaders and several opposition MPs. Neither were top leaders of MCA and MIC and other BN component parties (apart from Koh Tsu Koon) present.
I can’t help but compare the paranoia displayed by Najib’s aides with the attitude of Pas folks towards the talks on the Allah issue held in Catholic churches in the northern region.
Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusuf Rawa of Pas was invited to speak at these events. Mujahid, his aides and the Pas supporters who attended these dialogues never once raised the issue of religious symbols; neither did they set any conditions for the venue or the talks, which were held in church halls located on church grounds. In fact, they displayed due respect to the organisers and the Christian parishioners, who felt equally honoured to play hosts to their Muslim guests.