Fake News Riles Up Bishop Melter Tais, Wants Retraction And Apology

Bishop Meter Tais, fourth from left, handing over briefing notes and budgets for the 2017 Kota Kinabalu (Gaya) Christmas celebrations, a four-day event jointly organised by the Sabah Council of Churches and Kota Kinabalu CIty Hall every December. Mayor Yeo Boon Hai is seen fourth from right.

By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: A pro-Barisan Nasional news portal has been told to remove an article that is not true and to apologise to the Anglican Bishop, who is also head of the Sabah Council of Churches.

Bishop Melter Jiki Tais, the SCC President said the online article made it looked like he or churches in Sabah are favouring one political party over another.

“Because of the damage it has done, I demand an apology from the said news portal and for the administrators or owners to remove the article from its site within 3 days, failing which, legal action will be taken against them,” he said.

“For the record, I have never commented anything on politics during the meeting (with Musa Aman, the Chief Minister). I did not mention any political party.”

‘MAJLIS GEREJA SELAR PRESIDEN WARISAN POLITIKKAN AGAMA KRISTIAN’ (COUNCIL OF CHURCHES SLAMMED WARISAN PRESIDENT FOR POLITICISING CHRISTIANITY)

The headline of the allegedly fake news article that was uploaded on a news portal and spread by cyber-troopers over social media.

The Malay-language article ‘Majlis Gereja Selar Presiden Warisan politikkan agama Kristian’ (Council of Churches slammed Warisan president for politicising Christianity), was uploaded on Wednesday night and cybertroopers were spreading the link.

The article also stated Bishop Melter had ‘criticised the attitude of Parti Warisan Sabah leaders who used religion for politics’.

BISHOP MELTER TAIS

On Tuesday, Bishop Melter and a delegation from the organisers of the Kota Kinabalu (Gaya) Christmas Celebration had paid a courtesy call on Musa to brief him on the programme as well as to personally invite the Chief Minister to attend the 13th year of the Event.

Musa, who has always been invited to officiate at the annual four-day celebration, does not attend but sends a representative in his place.

After the courtesy call, Bishop Melter had reportedly said that Sabahans have always been living in harmony despite religious differences.

Bishop Melter, who is also Anglican Diocese of Sabah Bishop, had used the occasion to thank Musa for the continued financial support from the State government to non-Muslim bodies and schools in the State.

On Thursday, when shown the ‘fake news’, he had responded:

“I was saddened when informed that a news portal (name known to BorneoToday) had misinterpreted my words as to be directed at an opposition party.

“Not only the portal put words in my mouth, it also used my picture together with a photo of the opposition party leader on their website.”

Expressing his regret, Bishop Melter emphasised that the church is apolitical and should not be used as a political tool by any side, vehemently denying that he was ‘playing politics’ as portrayed by the article.

“I was merely saying that Christians in the State had been enjoying freedom to worship and that we have no issues here, even on the use of the word Allah,” he added.