Taib: Govt holds true to Constitution allowing freedom of religion

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Wednesday February 6, 2013

By NIGEL EDGAR  [email protected]

KUCHING: The people are reminded that while Islam is the official religion of the country, Malaysians of other faiths can practise their religions freely.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said this was only possible through the Barisan Nasional government and its policies that ensured all Malaysians, regardless of their race and religion, can live together in peace and harmony.

He said for people of various religions living together in peace and harmony in the country was not a compromise but a necessity to ensure the smoothness of progress and development of the state and country.

“Without harmony we cannot be prosperous. God created us with freedom but put up rules for us to follow for greater peace,” he said during the World Inter-Faith Harmony Week 2013 Goodwill dinner at the Kuching North City Commission near Petra Jaya here on Monday.

According to the chief minister there is always a struggle among us human beings to choose between good and evil.

“(But) There must be some guidelines that we must look at in the basic teachings of our religions like practising the good that our religion teaches us and be good to others. That’s how I understand the religious teachings,” he said.

Taib also lashed out at the Oppo- sition, saying the religious differences between their components had not come to a common understanding, unlike BN and its components.

Meanwhile, National Unity and Integration Department director-general Datuk Azman Hassan lauded Taib’s leadership for being able to sustain peace and harmony between the diverse religions and races of Sarawakians.

He said Sarawak had always been the role model of the 1Malaysia concept and should be an example to the peninsula.

“I hope we leaders of the various religious bodies would continue to help each other. Any sensitive issues concerning religious matters ought to be discussed through the Malaysian Inter-Religious Harmony and Understanding Amongst Adherent Promoting Committee (JKMPKA) in a peaceful manner,” he said.

JKMPKA, through the state National Unity and Integration Department and the Islamic Information Centre, was into its fourth day tour in Kuching yesterday in conjunction with the World Inter-Faith Harmony Week 2013.

The World Inter-Faith Harmony Week was an outcome of a United Nations (UN) resolution proposed in 2010 by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi Muhammad that all UN member states observe a worldwide week to promote accord between all peoples of various faiths.

At the state level, a series of programme have been organised with the purpose of strengthening the spirit of unity and multi-religious understanding among the people of various religions.

There will also be visits to some charitable bodies here throughout the day before the committee departs for Kuala Lumpur today to continue its tour.

Here, the final event will be a multi-religious forum entitled Faith and Good Governance to held at the Islamic Information Centre on Feb 23.

Five speakers from various religious backgrounds will share their thoughts and provide some insights on what constitutes good governance, with some 300 participants expected to attend.