04 July 2013

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today claimed that former Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla never made critical statements about him.

Anwar said he had communicated with Jusuf and the latter informed him he had never given an interview to any Malaysian blogger or publication.

Anwar told reporters at the parliament lobby that Jusuf has since sent four objection letters to two dailies – Berita Harian (BH) and New Straits Times (NST) - over reports claiming that Jusuf had criticised Anwar for breaking a pre-election agreement with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Jusuf’s purported criticism of Anwar was first carried by an Umno blog and was subsequently picked up by BH and NST.

On the Administration of Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013, Anwar accused the Cabinet of behaving impulsively in amending it.

He said the issue should have been discussed in the Cabinet before it was brought to parliament.

“So far, we don’t know the status of this bill. It’s obvious there’s a divide within Barisan Nasional (BN),” said Anwar referring to the conflicting statements by Cabinet members on the issue.

“It’s proof that it wasn’t debated thoroughly in Cabinet, it was either done impulsively or decided without a consensual discussion,” Anwar added.

The former deputy prime minister said during his time in Cabinet, the tabling of a Bill could be delayed and the discussion would be continued if there were any disputes or protest from Cabinet members.

To date, two Cabinet members - Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low – have objected to the Bill.

The BN components of MIC, MCA and Gerakan, have all objected to the Bill, which allows for unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.
The Malaysian Bar, DAP and Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) have also objected to it. - July 4, 2013.


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