Sabahan Christian sues Hadi over anti-Christianity remarks

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is being sued by a Sabah Christian for defamation. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is being sued by a Sabah Christian for defamation. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

By Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 29 — A Sabahan Christian has filed a defamation suit against PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for his criticisms of Christianity.

Marcel Jude Joseph, who is also a member of the Sabah Catholic Lawyers Apostolate, said his suit was filed at the Sessions Court here Tuesday over Hadi’s remarks that were published in news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) on January 18 in an article titled “Christianity Rejected By The Educated, says Hadi”, in which the Islamist opposition party chief reportedly said Christian missionaries had come to Malaysia only after failing in the west.

“As a direct and proximate result of the above described libellous and blasphemous publication, the plaintiff has suffered a loss to his reputation and has suffered damages in an amount to be determined at trial,” said Marcel, 54, in his statement of claim.

Marcel alleged that Hadi’s statement had seriously injured his character, credit and reputation and were calculated to make negative and false inferences of Christianity, including that his religious beliefs were incredible.

He said Hadi’s remarks also implied that he, as a Christian, was a member of “a gangster or mafia-like organisation engaged in unlawful and criminal activities.”

Marcel was, however, not personally named in the FMT article. In the FMT article, Marcel accused Hadi of making several defamatory statements by claiming that Christian missionaries only brought their work to Malaysia after experiencing failure in the west; that Christianity was no longer saleable in countries where the education level was high; and that after being rejected in the west, Christian missionaries had taken their teachings to African countries, where the people were far from being educated and civilised, and also to the interior areas of Sabah and Sarawak, among others.

When contacted by Malay Mail Online, Marcel said that Abdul Hadi should not be allowed to criticise other faiths and that as a Malaysian, he had to respect other religions.

“He is blaspheming my faith and my God. And insulting Sabahans and Sarawakians by saying we became Christians because we are broke. This cannot be allowed,” he said.

Marcel is seeking punitive and/or exemplary damages in an amount to be determined by the court for defamation, blasphemy, injurious or malicious falsehood and slander. – Malay Mail Online 

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