Photo: The Malay Mail article that triggered the petition
The Malay Mail Online, the portal which recently underwent a merger exercise with the Malay Mail print newspaper, is under fire for what is said was its anti-Islam and anti-Malay agenda.
The petitioner is campaigning to remove the word ‘Malay’ from the online publication.
The petition is mostly about a message from the Muslim Scholars Association of Malaysia (PUM) which was apparently given a sensational twist by the portal.
The petition lambasted the portal which is run by Leslie Lau and his sister Joan Lau, for what it said was its anti-Islam editorial and publishing articles that have a negative impact on Islam and the Malays.
As a result, the petitioners are urging the media regulatory body in Malaysia the Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) to force the removal of the word ‘Malay’ from the publication.
The petitioners said Malay Mail Online is known for publishing articles that taunts the Muslims and disparages Islam, wrongfully twisted an article’s headline to sensationalise it.
But by doing so, it has hurt the image of Islam and of the Malays, since by using the word “Malay” in its name, the portal is seen as a mouth-piece of Islam and of the Malays in the country.
“This damages the reputation of Islam and of the Malays,” says the petition.
It attacked the portal’s columnist Farouk A Peru who it said is campaigning for the obligatory Friday prayers to be held on Saturdays instead.
It appears the petition was launched a few hours ago on Change.org by a Sabri Daniel from Kuala Lumpur, who wrote a missive explaining why the word ‘Malay’ should be removed from the publication.
At the time of writing it already garnered 3,471 signatures out of the 5000 sought.
Sabri wrote that too often Malay mail Online twists and turns the fundaments of the stories they report, to the point that it changes the real meaning.
It said Malay Mail Online used the title “Back off Indira’s ex or there may be violence, Muslim scholars tell police” which it said is not what the Muslim Scholars Association of Malaysia (PUM) meant.
The petition in its intent says the portal mis-quoted the association.
The PUM in its message said: “We respect the Federal Court’s decision yesterday in the case of Indira Ghandi vs. Director of Islamic Religious Affairs.”
Indira Ghandi is the Hindu woman who won an appeal as the Federal Court ruled in her favour, nullifying the unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam by her ex-husband.
The PUM also said in its message published on its Facebook page that addressing the issue – which is somewhat sensitive among the various religions in the country – the association wishes to seek the consent of the Agong (King) of Malaysia to provide advice especially with the involvement of the religious status of an individual.
In the statement, the PUM expressed its fears that if the police were to harras the father and the daughter, it might lead to conflict between religions in the country with the possibility of violence in society.
The father went missing, hiding the daughter in question away from the mother and the police was urged to find the two in order for the mother Indira Ghandi to see her daughter,
It was reported that her youngest daughter was taken away by her ex-husband K. Padmanathan.
Padmanathan later changed his name to Muhammad Riduan Abdullah. The daughter was just 11 months old when she was taken by the father.
Riduan was nowhere to be seen at the court during the final appeal.
The petitioners said Malay Mail misled the readers by twisting the headline.
It said Malay Mail Online is not bonded by any permits since it is an online entity and this gives it a lot of freedom to twist the stories, use headlines that are hurtful to the Muslims and is leading a campaign of hate against Islam.
“Malay Mail is not the voice of the Malays, and as per the laws of the country, a Malay is a person of Islamic faith, who follows the Malay customs and uses the Malay language.
“But when the Malay Mail Online uses such dangerous headlines that create hatred towards Islam, it purports it is the official voice of the Malays due to its use of the name Malay Mail.
“This has to stop because it will give the wrong impression to the society,” said the petition.