Malaysian MP Howard Lee Apologises for Quoting Quran Verse
Public Apology for Quoting Quran Verse
Ipoh Timur MP, Howard Lee Chuan How, has recently issued a public apology for using a verse from the Quran in a social media video. During a press briefing at the Ipoh Timur MP’s service center, Lee expressed that he had no intentions of offending Muslim sensitivities with his video. He also showed appreciation for the advice given by Umno secretary-general Datuk Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki regarding the matter.
Lee explained that he had consulted a Muslim scholar before choosing to quote the Quran verse, thereby not interpreting it recklessly. However, he acknowledged that his actions might have upset Muslim citizens in the country and for that, he offered his apologies.
Police Investigation on the Incident
Lee’s apology followed an announcement by the Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (JSJ) that they would record Lee’s statement about the incident. This step was taken after the Perak Police chief, Datuk Seri Mohd Yusri Hassan Basri, revealed that the initial report on the case was lodged at the Jalan Tun Razak Police Station in Kuala Lumpur.
The non-governmental organization Jalinan Bersatu Sahabat (Jabat) Perak also filed a report about the incident. Lee confirmed that his statement about the incident was recorded by the police, but did not disclose the location of the recording.
Additional Voices on the Controversy
Former PKR vice president Zuraida Kamaruddin openly criticized Howard Lee for his use of the Quranic verse. As vice president of Muafakat Nasional, she urged the authorities to take stern action against Howard Lee and called for him to immediately apologize.
Umno Secretary General Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki advised Howard Lee not to repeat the mistake of quoting Quranic verses through his own interpretation. Asyraf informed Howard not to quote any verses from the Quran, particularly when expressing his political views, to prevent allegations of slander and creating misunderstanding that may lead to a never-ending polemic in the country.
Similar Past Incidents
This incident is not the first of its nature, as similar controversies have occurred before. Back in 2008, another DAP representative, the then Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng, also faced criticism for using a Quranic edict. His use of Amar Mar’uf Nahi Mungkar, which can be interpreted as “discard the bad; take only the good,” was adopted as a principle by the DAP-controlled state government at that time.
Lee’s apology brings to light the sensitive nature of religious texts and the potential fallout when used outside their religious context. The incident also underscores the necessity of careful handling of religious matters, particularly in a multicultural and multi-religious society such as Malaysia. It remains to be seen how this incident will impact the political landscape in Malaysia, but it serves as a reminder of the need for respect and understanding in matters of faith.
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