Malaysia would have been spared the religious troubles of the past month if inter-religious dialogues had been institutionalized as an important aspect of nation-building in the past five decades

PR leaders at 1st Pakatan Rakyat hosted Inter-Religious Dialogue

The Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council decided on 31st January 2010 to convene tonight’s inter-religious dialogue because we believe that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians from all religions are men and women of good will and good sense who want religion to unite and not divide, to build and not to destroy, the nation.

During the course of the historic dialogue tonight, bringing together representatives from all the great religions in Malaysia to freely and frankly exchange views and share their common concerns for the best welfare of the country, I was struck by the thought that Malaysia would have been spared the religious troubles of the past month if inter-religious dialogues had been institutionalized as an important aspect of nation-building in the past five decades.

Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, established the Inter-Religious Organisation to provide a common platform to bring representatives of all religions together to work for the common good and it is most unfortunate that Tunku’s initiative was discarded in the past few decades.

Tonight’s inter-religious dialogue is a historic one. As Dr. Herman Shastri has said, the mechanism of trust has broken down and in our challenge and task to rebuild this mechanism of trust, regular inter-religious dialogues among the different faiths in the country plays an important part.

We pride in holding out to the world that Malaysia is a model multi-religious country in the international campaign to promote tourism to Malaysia. Our leaders go on international forums to advocate inter-civilisational and inter-religious dialogues.

But the greatest anomaly is that inter-religious dialogues in the country are not encouraged by the authorities concerned, so much so that Pakatan Rakyat has to take this initiative to organize this historic inter-religious dialogue tonight to address the recent spate of attacks on places of worship of different faiths, which is giving Malaysia such a bad name internationally.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has come out with his 1Malaysia slogan and concept. What is 1Malaysia?

LGE and Religious Leaders at Pakatan Rakyat Inter-Religious Dialogue

I have always advocated that the objective of nation-building is to create a Malaysian who regards himself as a Malaysian first and his race (whether Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban), religion (whether Muslim, Christian,Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh) or region second.

But over the years, I had not found any Barisan Nasional leader endorsing my definition of the objective of Malaysian nation-building.

I was pleasantly surprised that this definition has been adopted in the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap – “a nation where, it is hoped, every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second”. (p 11)

But is the Barisan Nasional government really serious about this objective of Malaysian nation-building?

If so, there would have been no need for any 1Malaysia slogan and concept for Malaysia today would be a 1Malaysia in fact and reality!

Let tonight’s event be the belated but historic start of the institutionalization of inter-religious dialogues as an important contribution to Malaysian nation-building, involving all stakeholders including the ruling parties.

[Closing remarks at the Inter-Religious Dialogue organized by Pakatan Rakyat held at The Club, Bukit Utama Golf Course on Wednesday, 10th February 2010 at 10.30 pm]

IR Dialogue

IR Dialogue

Pakatan Rakyat hosted Inter-Religious Dialogue

  1. #1 by rahmanwang on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 10:41 am

    Good on you Pakatan Rakyat.You people are really doing something.Not like BN.Full of rubbish.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 11:10 am

    I rather govt and politicians get out of the business of religion.

  3. #3 by jus legitimum on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 11:14 am

    We should by all means support Pakatan Rakyat because they always have the interest of all races and religions at heart.But weed out the current rotten blokes including 2 from Penang,1 each from Kedah and Wilayah Persekutuan respectively.

  4. #4 by dagen on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 11:15 am

    Honestly, I yearn for the day when Actors’ Studio can put up a show with scripts containing words like “Melayu malas” “Cina babi” and “India ular” and we all would have a good laugh and a really good time.

    Yes. Dialogue. That is definitely the way forward. In due course, expand the scope to encompass racial issues. Do not just confine the dialogue to religious issues.

  5. #5 by Motorist on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 12:40 pm

    The basic fundamental of any religion is love & do good onto others.

    Understanding & respecting each other’s religion should start at home, then in schools & universities & lastly in our own hearts.

    Its a two way street; meaning BOTH parties doing it.

    We cant force our religious believe onto others. We cant force other religions to just respect mine. We cant be holier than thou when faced with people of other religion.

    God has given each of us has the free will to choose. Choose wisely.

  6. #6 by hibou on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 2:12 pm

    This initiative by the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council has actually done more, for the ambition of Malaysia to promote herself as a tolerant multi-religious country, than any UMNO/BN government since after Tunku Abdul Rahman.

    It would be great, Mr Lim, if we could find a way to propagate these kind of nation-building activities right down to the various communities (ADUNs communities & schools, for example) in the country.

    No doubt there will be anticipated disruptions created by the UMNO government in practical reality, if these activities are organized, but then again it will then expose the true nature of the present UMNO government.

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 2:26 pm

    ///But is the Barisan Nasional government really serious about this objective of Malaysian nation-building?/// – Kit.

    One needs to be watchful that UMNO/BN do not always walk the talk. Their action is often inconsistent with the words they spoke.

  8. #9 by Onlooker Politics on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 2:48 pm

    The Inter-Religious Dialogue can at best come up with a written guideline on what can be done and what cannot be done by different religious groups in relation to religious matters. The guideline will never have legal binding force upon any religious group since it is not law.

    Since the state rulers are given the ultimate power in relation to all matters pertaining to Islamic affairs, setting any guideline for religious groups to follow will at best serve only as a moral suasion measure. This is because the amendment in the State Islamic Law will still need the final consent from the state rulers.

    As the Federal Court is trending to give some prerogative power to the state rulers in relation to the selection of a Menteri Besar, DAP should be prepared to build up a good rapport with the state rulers as the state rulers are no longer satified to serve only as a rubber stamp puppet with no real power!

  9. #10 by cdw92 on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 2:58 pm

    Why wait for the political parties to start hosting inter-religious dialogues ? All the religious councils or administration from every religion in the country should not be passive and should host these dialogues themselves. Not just taking care about their own religious affairs everyday. Is it that the only purpose of religion is to pray …? The fact that this is a HISTORIC dialogue shows that how ignorant Malaysians are in this matter.

  10. #11 by Comrade on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 3:24 pm

    I have the same thought as Bigjoe #2 that govt and politicians get out of the business of religion.
    We are free to practice our religion and should respect each other’s religion. Do not let religion disrupt the inter-racial harmony.

    Only a government that is unclean
    Would use race/religion as a mean
    To pursue and achieve its hidden agenda
    So keep religion out of the political arena

  11. #12 by Bunch of Suckers on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 3:43 pm

    When Bakuthir came to powers over decades, everything had been crapped out!. He introduced and instituted many racist organizations, departments and projects. As we know any mama, e.g. Bakuthir, Ismail & etc, is good at these sort of racist stuffs when they gain favorable position and supports…. Our Playerboy tends to pursue and follow his foot-path with all sorts of cunning slogans (1Malaysia) or motto & Economic Model 2.0 , 10 or whatever versions….

    Conclusively and simply, it is all Bakuthir’s faults. All we can pointing our fore-fingers at him…

  12. #13 by dagen on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 6:00 pm

    WTF is happening to Raja Petra’s son? Anyone knows? And what is the police doing about it? To show us another beng hock incident?

  13. #14 by chengho on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 6:32 pm

    Where is Pakiam this day , New York?

  14. #15 by dagen on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 7:27 pm

    Well Well Well Fellas. Spring Festival is here. For those who are chinese:


  15. #16 by donplaypuks on Thursday, 11 February 2010 - 8:36 pm


    Stop Press! Breaking News!!

    My apologies for digressing!

    Just heard on NTV7 8 p.m. news. Scorpene Sub having some “difficulties.” Admiral says KD Tunku Abdul Rahman still under warranty and Navy is trying “to work things out with supplier!!”

    Defence Minister Zaid Hamidi claims it’s not true (just as he said that UMNO lawyer in PPasir was not disbarred or has 2 wives) KD TAB is having problems submerging!!

    A $1 billion submarine that can only float? Might as well have bought a barrage of sampans!

    Can we claim back some of that “not a commission” $540 million paid to a certain Havoxbridge Don acquited of murder and not appealed by the DPP?

    Kong Hee Fatt Choy to all!

    We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

  16. #17 by frankyapp on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 2:26 am

    A submarine if it’s really worthed $ 1 billion net would submerge no doubt but when it was minus $540 million as a commission to a certain havoxbridge Don,surely you would get a sub submarine which can only float.Similarly,look at most of the government highways because of so many sub,sub sub-contractors, we all got all the sub sub sub=standard built roads.Same as half past six politicians,delivering half past six desision and action. I think the people of malaysia needs more penang’s CAT to catch all those bad rats to prevent further damage to our nation.

  17. #18 by frankyapp on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 3:10 am

    //2 ” I rather govt and politicians get out of the business of religion ” by bigjoe……yeap this would be great for Malaysia. However Umno’s politicians think this idea won’t work as they considered malays is islam and islam is malays and that the word Allah is only for malays’s exclusive used. It’s pretty tough ,next to impossible to deal with Umnoputras who have such mindset. However I think such mindset is not true,they only want to use it to manipulate and gain unending malays support for their political survival,so that they can rape and reap all good resources in the country for themselves and cronies and leave some tit bits to make the vast majority of the malays happy. Frankly I’m pretty surprise,why these vast majority of malays still vote for them. Do these vast majority still willingly accept Umno’s leadership out of the wrong perception that Umno is defending their religion and race ?

  18. #19 by sotong on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 7:11 am

    Very few leaders/politicians have the courage to speak up for what is right, fair and good……and called an traitor of their race and religion.

  19. #20 by a2a on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 8:50 am

    Anyone have GOD in heart.

    Anyone have GOD teaching in heart.

    Will welcome with both open arms to anyone address his/her GOD in high respect as GOD/ALMIGHTY.

    Only the devil will try to destroy it and stop GOD children united to regard him as the only one GOD.

  20. #21 by Onlooker Politics on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 10:04 am

    As the world financial turmoil for the past two years has caused serious economic problems such as inadequate international demand for Malaysian made products and services, capital flight from Malaysia to other fast growing nations like Indonesia, Vietnam, India and mainland China, the brain drain problem and the general economic hardship in Malaysia, more and more Malaysians have lost their confidence in the Federal Administration of Barisan Nasional. Najib’s 1Malaysia empty slogan has also pushed some racist advocators of “Ketuanan Melayu” concept to turn to put hope on the Malay rulers for the protection of Malay-centric cultural and religious interests.

    As the Malay rulers are playing the traditional role as the protector of Malay Special Position and the Islam’s position as the official religion, it will be very difficult for the non-muslim Malaysians to expect the Malay rulers to also look after the interests of the non-muslim people as there are basically two different matters which are having conflict of interests between one another. Therefore, the establishment of an official organisation for inter-religious dialogues is deemed critical in order to hold much more active human interactions between the muslim group and the non-muslim group of Malaysia for reaching a consensus which will strike a balance between these two religious groups. Inter-religious dialogues are the only viable way for eradicating the sense of suspicion and distrust among different religious groups of Malaysia.

    The following analysis made by the writer of the Malaysian Insider told us more about the appropriate roles of the Malay Rulers:

  21. #22 by Black Arrow on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 10:27 am

    It is good of Pakatan Rakyat to start this inter-religious dialogue initiative. Pakatan have taken a step in the right direction compared to BN who is all talk only with the 1Malaysia rhetoric.

  22. #23 by yhsiew on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 11:20 am

    Equal sides?

    Rows highlight race and faith divide in Malaysia


  23. #24 by lopez on Saturday, 13 February 2010 - 2:49 pm

    where got people judge people on religious wrongs on the pretext that he or they were empowered by the almighty himself to do so.

    yes but in the medieval times

  24. #25 by good coolie on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 3:58 pm

    What harm can come from inter-religious dialogue between mature people?

  25. #26 by DCLXVI on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 8:17 pm

    chengho: “Where is Pakiam this day , New York?”

    Where ever he is, he must still be praying that the Catholic church is still able to meet the spiritual needs of the Christian Catholic bumiputras of Sabah & Sarawak without compromising the way their communities have been praying for more than 100 years…

You must be logged in to post a comment.