Lights Form Part of Chinese Character for Luck, Not Cross

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The lights at the Grace Residence building in Jelutong, Penang, were never meant to show the sign of the cross or have any religious meaning.

A spokesman from developer Nova Mulia Development Sdn Bhd said the lights at the apartment, which was near 90% completion, were being tested.

“Perhaps when pictures were taken, the lights had shown a cross. But the lighting is not meant to show a cross.

“We have lights on the top floor and at the car park level too, but the photographs did not show the two top and bottom rows of lights turned on at the common areas.

“So all that was shown are the lights that form a cross,” she told The Malaysian Insight.

If all lights at the top floor and car park level are turned on, the Chinese character “wang” (王), which means “king” or “royal”, will be visible.

It is also a common Chinese surname, also read as “ong” in dialects like Hokkien, which is widely spoken in Penang.

“That is what the lights would normally show at night,” she added.

Pictures of a cross formed by the apartment building’s light have recently gone viral, leading to an outcry among some Muslims over the display of a Christian symbol.

Yesterday, Bukit Tengah assemblyman Gooi Hsiao Leung said Umno MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina disregarded non-Muslim sensitivities by calling for state action over a building in Jelutong that has been lit up like a cross.

Gooi slammed the Kepala Batas MP for turning a non-issue into a racial and religious one.

“Even if the building was lighted up like a cross intentionally (which I believe was not the case), I see nothing wrong with it, as everyone should be free to express their own religious affinity publicly and openly without fear and or having to do so in hiding,” Gooi said in a statement.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“This was not a case where someone had, with deliberate provocation, erected a cross in front of a kampong, mosque or a Muslim cemetery to hurt the feelings of Muslims.

“There was absolutely nothing to suggest that this incident was carried out with any deliberate intention to provoke the sensitivities of Muslims in the first place, and hence it is a non-issue to call on the authorities to take corrective action on the matter. This matter should just end there,” added the PKR state lawmaker.

Gooi said the people are sick of Umno leaders who “exploit and spin a non-issue into a racial or religious agenda, in order to stir anti-Malay or anti-Muslim sentiments.”

“We have to stop pandering to opportunistic extremist groups which very often will claim that Islam has been offended or is under threat without any basis,” he said.

Late last week, Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor issued a statement urging the local authorities to direct the developer to change the position of the lights so they would not show a cross when turned on.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state had asked the developer for an explanation. He also said the developer was testing the lights at the apartment.