Bukit Mertajam Member of Parliament (MP) Steven Sim has decided to take legal action against controversial academic Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, who accused him of doing charity for publicity
The Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) senior lecturer took to Facebook last Friday, 16 April, where he tried to inflame racial tensions with a post titled 'The Difference Between the Help Of Muslim Malays and Christian Chinese'.
In the post, Kamarul brought up Sim's act of kindness, which was to use his own salary to purchase a motorcycle for a foodpanda rider, and compared it to a similar act by Pendang MP Datuk Awang Hashim, who also bought a motorcycle for a delivery rider in Kedah two weeks prior.
The UUM lecturer questioned why the charity was the same but Sim's act went viral and was picked up and praised by countless news outlets, while Awang Hashim's act was not.
"The difference is because of the ones who gave the aid: one is Muslim Malay and the other is Christian Chinese," said Kamarul.
"The difference is also that one was explained in mere facts of the incident with formal photos, whereas the other was written lengthily as a story, using sentences meant to trigger emotions, linked to Ramadan, and accompanied by detailed photographs that all looked planned ahead for the sake of publicity."
In a following Facebook post, the Law, Government, and International Studies lecturer then warned Malays to be cautious about accepting help from "Christian evangelists" who may have hidden agendas.
Sim said he initially refrained from pursuing action against the allegation, but took a stand after Kamarul continued to slander his name
On Sunday, 18 April, the Bukit Mertajam MP only expressed sadness on Facebook over the accusations that race and religion came into question regarding his charity work.
"I'm an elected representative for the people, my job is to help those in need in my constituency, regardless of race and religion," he wrote.
However, two days later, Sim posted again, saying, "I am actually very affected by the slander and accusations Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff has made against me."
"I was patient because I respect the sanctity of the month of Ramadan. Despite being asked by the public to make a move, I did not."
"However, he did not stop making baseless accusations. The allegations not only tarnished my name as a Member of Parliament, but even more dangerously, inflamed racial and religious sentiments in our society. He has also without remorse, challenged me to take legal action against him."
Sim said he has instructed his lawyer to take legal action against the UUM lecturer for the benefit of the Malaysian community and to maintain racial harmony in the country.
In his latest update, Kamarul appeared to enjoy the attention and said he was excited to read that Sim was affected by his accusations
"I never expected my writing of 2,000 shares to have such an influence, that it could bring damage to the name of a well-loved MP who had over 30,000 shares and was circulated to all corners of the Earth, or even be accused of affecting racial and religious harmony in this country," he wrote in response.
He added that he did not challenge Sim to sue him, nor has he disputed the help given by Sim to his constituents.
Kamarul said he merely warned Muslim Malays to not overly-praise Sim's work because it was orchestrated to improve his public image and to remind the MP not to sensationalise gifting because it touched Malay Muslim sensitivities.
"However, as a responsible academic, I am prepared to defend all my statements against Steven Sim in court," he said, adding that he was looking forward to having a public space to reveal all the Christian evangelism going on behind the Democratic Action Party (DAP).
Sim gained a lot of public attention for his acts of charity around Bukit Mertajam earlier this month: