Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat rebutted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement that the State Government offered him settlement on the Mazu controversy two years ago.
“I wish to categorically state that neither the Chief Minister nor the State Government had ever offered me or my Mazu Foundation any alternative site or any offer of compensation to this date,” said Chong.
Chong was responding to Nazri who had urged him to accept the out-of-court offer made by successor Datuk Seri Musa Aman and the State Government over the controversial Mazu statue in Kudat.
Nazri was quoted in the national media as saying that two years ago, the State Government had offered settlement with three alternative sites proposed and compensation of RM2 million for foundation work which had been done and that “Chong had declined the offer”.
Chong also took Nazri to task for saying in Parliament that the State Government “cannot go on with the approved plan to build the statue at the original site because it is in front of a mosque” and that the State Government had received a petition signed by 10,000 Muslims living in Kudat objecting to the building of the statue.
“Let me again categorically state that my Mazu statue which was approved by the local authority and in fact almost completed is not located in front of a mosque as the nearest mosque is more than 700 metres from my statue site.
Muslims in Malaysia or anywhere will never interfere or cause injustice to the religious affairs or activities of non-Muslims, especially their fellow Malaysians.
“I know my Muslim brothers and sisters in Kudat because I have had the privilege to serve them as their State Assemblyman for two consecutive terms, born and grew up in Kudat,” Chong said.
Chong said the most shocking utterance by Nazri was that the Mazu statue “is supposed to be 200 metres high”.
“It is not even 200 feet in height. It is an 88-foot statue supported by a 20-foot platform making it 108 feet in total,” he said.
He said Nazri, being such a senior Minister, should not have commented on his ongoing legal suits.
“He even went to the extent of passing judgement by contending that my foundation has no locus standi to file a suit against the Government as if he is the lawyer for the State Government of Sabah,” said Chong.