Perkasa chief threatens action over column over alleged 'bible-burning' remark

PETALING JAYA - The barrage of criticism over his alleged "bible-burning" remark has not deterred Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who has now threatened to initiate legal action against The Star columnist Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.

The Perkasa chief sent a letter of demand dated Nov 24, in which he claimed that Wong's article "A mind-boggling spin", published in The Star and The Star Online on Nov 2, contained defamatory statements against him.

Ibrahim is demanding from Wong a written undertaking that he will not make any further statements on the matter, as well as a written statement retracting his article and the statements in his article.

He is also demanding RM500,000 (S$194,000) in damages for what he claimed was "baseless defamatory allegations" against him.

The letter demands that Wong, who is Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer, reverts within 14 days from the date of the letter or face legal action.

The letter was sent by Ibrahim's lawyer and was received by Wong's lawyers on Nov 25.

In response to Ibrahim's letter of demand, Wong has instructed his lawyers to issue a full response.

"My stand remains the same. The moderates will continue to speak up.

"Say no to extremism. If the case has to end up in court, then we will fight him on," he said.

A letter of demand is a letter sent from a lawyer on behalf of a client to demand payment or any other action from another party, usually to imply that a court case would be filed unless the stated demands are met.

Ibrahim allegedly made the "bible-burning" remark in January last year with regard to individuals who had purportedly distributed Bibles containing the word "Allah" to students, including Malays, at SMK Jelutong in Penang.

On Oct 27, it was reported that no legal action would be taken against Ibrahim because he was said to be "defending the sanctity of Islam" and had no intention to create religious disharmony when he called for the burning of Bibles containing the word "Allah".

In Wong's article, which appeared in his On The Beat column, Wong had questioned why no charges were filed against Ibrahim over his remarks.

He added that no one should have the suspicion or perception that only the feelings of one race matter in Malaysia.