OPPOSITION leader Datuk Jahara Hamid (Teluk Air Tawar) has refuted claims that she asked for the shrine of a ‘Datuk Kong’ in Armenian Street Park to be demolished.
“My statement is being twisted by Pakatan Harapan assemblymen. I just asked that the shrine be moved elsewhere and not demolished,” she said.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng urged Jahara to withdraw her statement at the state assembly.
Jahara had raised her concerns over the shrine on Friday, claiming that the park was a public place and the sensitivities of people should be taken into account.
Lim continued to ask her to withdraw her remark but Jahara refused, saying it was not what she said.
“I still insist that a public park should not have shrines and I refuse to withdraw my remark,” she added.
At one point, Jahara said she would withdraw her statement if Lim withdrew his remark that she asked for the shrine to be demolished, but Lim refused.
“Yang Berhormat, please withdraw your remark as I’m being accused by MCA of being a coward for not defending the religious freedom of other races,” Lim said.
On Sunday, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker urged all politicians to exercise more restraint when it comes to the sensitivity of other religions.
“The spirit behind the Constitution upon which our nation is founded is based on tolerance,” he had said.
Lim and Jahara’s verbal exchange eventually came to an end after Deputy Speaker Datuk Maktar Shapee interjected, telling both of them to sit down.
The exchange came about during the debate on the motion of thanks to the Yang di-Pertua Negri by A. Tanasekharan (DAP-Bagan Dalam) who questioned how Jahara could ask the shrine to be demolished.
Later in a press conference, Jahara said there should be an appropriate place for the shrine.
“If it’s a mosque, there should be a committee to take care of it. Same with temples. So the shrine should also have someone manning it,” she said, adding that it was not her intention to incite uneasiness among the other races.