by Jonathan Chia, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on February 6, 2013, Wednesday
FOSTERING GOOD RELATIONS: Taib (fourth right) receiving a memento from Azman (second left). Also seen are Misnu (second right), Daud (third right) and Anglican Diocese of Kuching Assistant Bishop Rt Revd Aeries Sumping Jingan (right). — Photo by Chimon Upon
KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud says good inter-faith understanding is the key to creating mutual respect and harmony in our multi-religious society.
“We must understand the teachings of other religions. A good understanding of the teachings of other religions will be able to help avoid sensitive religious issues being raised that may cause disharmony among the people,” he said during a dinner with leaders of various faith-based organisations here at Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Pentarama Banquet Hall on Monday.
Taib said the government did not prohibit its citizens from practising their religion, adding that the people were free to choose any religion that they believe in and would benefit them.
“Everyone is free to practise their own religion but what is important here is that they must engage the community. It is only through engagement that we will be able to create a harmonious society,” he added.
Taib said it was only through harmony that the community would prosper and therefore he would continue to foster the spirit of unity among various communities in the state to ensure they continue to live in peace and harmony.
Meanwhile, National Unity and Integration Department (NUID) director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan complimented the state government for playing an important role in maintaining the harmony of the people in the state.
“The people of Sarawak are lucky because you do not face sensitive religious issues like those the people in west Malaysia are facing,” he said.
Azman stated that Sarawak could be a role model to states in Peninsular Malaysia in promoting unity among diverse faith groups.
A series of programmes have been designed for the state-level World Inter-Faith Harmony Week 2013 to strengthen the spirit of unity and multi-religious understanding among people of various faiths in the state.
Among them will be visits to Kuching Buddhist Society, Paediatric Ward and Cancer Ward in Sarawak General Hospital and the Cure and Care Rehabilitation Centre in Kuching by youth and women members of various faith-based organisations.
The final event to mark this celebration is a multi-religious forum on faith and good governance organised by the Islamic Information Centre on Saturday, Feb 23.
Five speakers from various religious backgrounds will be sharing their thoughts and provide insights on what constitute good governance.
Among those at the dinner were Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, Deputy State Secretary Datu Misnu Taha and leaders of various faith-based organisations.