KUCHING, Sept 11 — Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King today urged religious affairs minister Datuk Idris Ahmad to work closely with the Ministry of National Unity by focusing on the unity and integration of all Malaysians.
He stressed that the spirit of unity and mutual understanding, acceptance and harmony among all races and religions must be maintained to promote a true Malaysian Family concept for all.
“It is my solemn request, to all leaders from both the governing and opposition parties and their supporters, to set aside our ambitions using religious and ethnic lines at a time when all Malaysians are struggling to get by during the pandemic,” Tiong said in a statement in response for a proposal to draft a Bill on the control and restrictions on the propagation of non-Muslim religions in Malaysia.
He said an announcement by Idris’ deputy Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary had created a political storm in the country.
“During this severe pandemic, striving along these religious and ethnic lines, does nothing to put Malaysia back to economic and social recovery,” he said, adding that everyone has a right to freedom of religion as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. It must not be compromised now or in the future.
“Regardless of the status of this proposed bill, my only position is that I firmly oppose it to the end. Our country is a multi-racial one,” Tiong,who is also Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president, said.
He hoped all politicians in Malaysia will be more sensitive when dealing with various issues and avoid making remarks that incite and hurt the feelings of other religious groups.
He said creating emotionally-charged rhetoric will only make interracial relationships more tense and it is not a way to garner votes.
“It should be understood by all that religious belief is a spiritual sustenance for human beings and a steadying beacon in confusion and helplessness.
“All groups must respect each other and live in harmony, instead of deliberately causing hatred and dispute between different religions,” he said, adding that it would be a farce to have to be embroiled in such a dispute at a time when Malaysia is in the midst of facing Covid-19 pandemic.