KLANG: After much hype, the plan by Selangor Umno to protest in front of churches in the state on Sunday may not happen after all.
State Umno leaders contacted seemed unsure whether the proposed gathering to protest Catholic priest Father Lawrence Andrew’s remarks that Catholic churches would continue to use the world “Allah” in reference to God during mass would even get off the ground.
State party secretary Datuk Johan Abd Aziz said the matter had not been fully discussed with party members, including state chairman Datuk Seri Noh Omar.
“There are talks and calls for protests but only Noh can decide. As of now, no decision has been made,” he said yesterday.
Noh, when contacted, claimed he was unaware of such a plan.
“Who is holding the protest? Umno? If there is going to be one, we will let the public know,” he said.
His deputy Datuk Abdul Shukur Idrus said the decision on whether the gathering would go ahead would be decided today.
“It all depends on whether Father Lawrence issues a public apology,” he said.
Some Selangor Umno leaders had on Thursday given Father Lawrence until today to withdraw his statement while Gombak Umno division chief Abdul Rahim Kamarudin said the party would stage a protest if the Catholic priest failed to do so.
Selangor Perkasa has also said it would not hold any rally in front of churches.
Its state chief Abu Bakar Yahya said the NGO’s members would carry out protests, but not by holding rallies in front of churches as that would disturb Christians who were praying in the buildings.
In a related development, Serdang Umno deputy chief Mej (Ret) Abdul Rahim Mohd Amin said party members might protest in front of Father Lawrence’s house if he failed to retract his statement.
“If he does not, we may hold a peaceful protest outside his house after lodging police reports,” Abdul Rahim Mohd Amin told a press conference yesterday.
Serdang Umno Youth chief Ahmad Yani Ahmad, who was also at the press conference, demanded that Father Lawrence apologise for making a statement contrary to the Sultan’s decree.
“However, we realise his call may not reflect the views of all Christians,” he said.
In Banting, about 400 representatives of Kuala Langat Umno division, 4B Youth, Perkasa and several other NGOs protested peacefully in front of the Kuala Langat police station over the same issue.
Kuala Langat Umno chief Datuk Sulaiman Karli said that they staged the protest in front of a police station and not any church because they did not want to cause tension among people of the Christian faith.
“We love this country. Furthermore, if we were in the wrong, it would have been easy for the police to arrest us,” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur, Cheras Umno lodged three police reports on the issue at the Cheras district police headquarters today.
Its secretary Datuk Syed Medhar Syed Abdullah urged the Home Ministry to take immediate action to resolve the issue.