Joey’s brother in law forwarded an sms and asked her to refer to busineess week com and also reposts in audie61 . It does spell unhealthy but not yet all gloom and doom for Malaysia’s economy.The CEO and Prime Minister Najib is trying to woo foreign investors into the country but it seems these negative media reports are definedly hurting Malaysia’s image as a a safe investment.
Malaysia Seeks to Contain Church Attacks, Investor Concerns
Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) — Malaysia sought to contain attacks on Christian churches and allay international concerns amid fears the violence could polarize the country’s multiracial society and deter overseas investors.
Police are investigating at least 10 acts of violence in the past four days, including several arson attacks, all believed to be prompted by a Dec. 31 court ruling allowing a Catholic newspaper to use the Arabic word “Allah” to refer to God in its Malay-language section.
Malaysia has been largely free of the violence by Islamist groups that has fuelled insurgencies in the Philippines and Thailand, and attacks on Western targets in Indonesia. Some fear stability may be threatened by the politicization of religion as political parties vie for the votes of majority Muslim Malays.
“Perhaps for the first time in Malaysian history a religious place of worship has been firebombed,” said Steven Gan, editor-in-chief of Malaysiakini.com, an independent online news service in Kuala Lumpur. The attacks are a sign of “creeping Islamization over the past 10 or 20 years.”
This morning, scorch marks were found on the main entrance door of the Sidang Injil Borneo church in Seremban, Negri Sembilan stake, the Star reported today, citing police.
Molotov cocktails hit a church and convent without causing significant damage in separate incidents in Perak state yesterday. Glass panels of Sekolah Menengah Convent’s guard house were broken when a firebomb was thrown into the school’s compound and windows at a church in Sarawak state were shattered by bricks, black paint was splashed on a church in Malacca, and a pastor’s car was daubed with pain, also yesterday
No arrests have yet been made, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar said. The weekend incidents follow three attacks and one threat on Jan. 8, when the office of a Pentecostal church in Kuala Lumpur was torched.
“These outrageous incidents are acts of extremism and designed to weaken our diverse communities’ shared commitment to strengthen racial unity,” Home Ministry Secretary General Mahmood Adam told reporters after briefing foreign diplomats in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur.
Though the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index shrugged off the news, rising as much as 0.3 percent, the attacks are bound to color foreign perceptions of Malaysia, said Stephen Hagger, managing director of Equities for Credit Suisse Group AG in the capital. “This is not helping Malaysia’s efforts to attract long-term investments,” he said.
Government officials expressed concerns tourists may stay away if the violence continues.
“Tourists will choose not to visit a country faced with conflicts, especially religious conflicts,” Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen was cited by the official Bernama news agency as saying.
Malaysia’s High Court on Dec. 31 ruled that the Herald newspaper, a Catholic weekly, was correct in using “Allah” in its Malay-language section, as it is aimed at only Christians.
Muslim protesters contend the word should be exclusive to Islam, and the government is appealing the decision.
The Home Ministry banned non-Muslim publications from printing the word in 1986 on the grounds it could threaten national security and confuse Muslims, who comprise more than 60 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million people.
The spread of more strident Islam across a swath of Southeast Asia is testing the ability of policymakers to appeal to devout Muslims while simultaneously protecting the rights of Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities.
In July, a Malaysian woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced in July to six strokes of a cane for drinking beer by a Shariah court in eastern Pahang state. While caning is used to punish at least 40 crimes in the country, this was a first for a religious offense. She is still awaiting punishment.
Malaysia has a dual legal system. Shariah law covers Islamic affairs and deals broadly with issues of moral and religious issues applied to Muslims.
It’s not only Christian churches that have been targeted by Muslims in Malaysia. In September six people were charged with sedition after trampling a cow’s head, which is considered sacred among Hindus, to protest the building of a Hindu temple.
In October, Beyonce Knowles cancelled a concert in Kuala Lumpur after opposition to her immodest stage costumes voiced by Malaysia’s opposition Pan Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS.
Muslim and ethnic Malays leaders have criticized the attacks, saying they run contrary to the teachings of Islam.
“Even when Muslim lands were invaded, churches were protected,” said Hadi Awang, president of the opposition Pan- Malaysian Islamic Party in a speech in Shah Alam yesterday. “The culprits are ignorant of Islam.”
The word “Allah” was first introduced into Southeast Asia by Muslim traders around the 12th century, when locals didn’t have a word describing a single deity. The government’s ban applies only to print and not to non-Muslim rituals, meaning the word “Allah” is still used in Malay-language church services.
Around 130 Muslim non-governmental organizations and volunteer policemen have come forward to help keep watch on Christian churches, Bernama reported yesterday.
In Indonesia, Muslim organizations reminded followers not to make copycat attacks, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
–With assistance from Barry Porter in Kuala Lumpur. Editors: Mark Williams, Ben Richardson.
To contact the reporters responsible for this story: Manirajan Ramasamy in Kuala Lumpur at +60-3-2302-7858 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at +852-2977-6618 or email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Collins in Hong Kong at +852-2977-6475 or firstname.lastname@example.org.