Malaysian news portal gets mixed-up in anti-Islam claims


The Malay Mail Online, a news portal in Malaysia, is embroiled in a controversy and hit by a petition after it mixed-up the headline of a statement by an Islamic organisation in a case of forced conversion in the country.

Some 3600 signatories were gathered at the time of writing in a petition that is contesting the publication’s use of the word “Malay’, urging the regulatory authorities to cut-off the name from the online portal.

The reason they gave: The portal uses the Malay word but is not the mouth-piece of the Malays and is a portal that rubbish Islam and the Malays.

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, said a local portal today.

The petitioners said Malay Mail Online is known for publishing articles that taunts the Muslims and disparages Islam, and has 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.

The petition said 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 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.