Non-Muslims back Penang interfaith portfolio

By Debra Chong | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The national non-Muslim council has given its thumbs-up to the Penang government for setting up a new interfaith portfolio, and called on other states to follow its example in a bid to counter rising religious extremism.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) applauded Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s (picture) initiative to form and head the new executive portfolio to handle non-Muslim religious issues in the state.

“Further, we are deeply encouraged that he has taken it upon himself to head it to give the seriousness it deserves,” it said in a statement today.

Religious tensions in multicultural Malaysia have been on the rise in recent years and have led to clashes in court and on the street between Muslim and non-Muslim communities last year in disputes over religious terminology and places of worship, among others.

The MCCBCHST also urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to support Penang’s effort, and linked it to his rallying call to world leaders at the United Nations meeting in New York last September.

The PM, in his speech, had called on world leaders to build a “global movement of the moderates from all faiths who are committed to work together to combat and marginalise extremists who have held the world hostage with their bigotry and bias”.

However, several parties — including Najib’s Penang-born predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi — have reportedly dismissed the Penang initiative, saying it was not needed.

“The federal government has never marginalised anyone and as such I do not think there is need for a specific institution to look into non-Muslim affairs,” national news agency Bernama had reported Abdullah as saying yesterday.

But the MCCBCHST said it hoped all state governments will emulate the positive efforts of the Penang government and reclaim the moral ground from extremists.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, had announced last week that that the state government would be adopting a portfolio to look into the affairs of Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus.

The portfolio will be chaired by Lim himself while Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy was appointed the deputy.

Penang’s interfaith portfolio is not the first to be formed as Lim himself noted, pointing to Perak’s, which is headed by state executive councillor Datuk Mah Hang Soon.

  1. #1 by baochingtian on Monday, 21 February 2011 - 8:29 pm

    It’s disappointed to see there r people who not only can’t appreciate such an interfaith initiative but also to discredit the Penang CM by going into personal attacks, giving black roses and fruits deemed to be disliked by the CM. Childish la for a leader of an NGO. As for AB, pls go back to bed and sleep like what u hv been characterized by most commoners.

  2. #2 by good coolie on Monday, 21 February 2011 - 8:59 pm

    The recent bashing of St. Valentine and St. Nicholas for the sins of people celebrating, Valentine’s day and Santa Clause’s Day, does indeed call for dialogue between religions.

    Let the Pakatan States take the lead!

  3. #3 by tanjong8 on Monday, 21 February 2011 - 9:38 pm

    Mukriz again ! He is seizing the opportunity in his attempt to climb up the ladder of Umno Youth leadership.
    This episode again exposes his inadequacy to be a leader of the country.
    In fact, he owes his current government position to being a son of a former PM.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 - 1:36 am

    What abt d national Muslim council, got give its thumbs-up to d Penang goment 4 setting up d new interfaith portfolio? Got or no got aah?

  5. #5 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 - 8:09 am

    You will soon see muck face mookriz waving the keris and say something anti Chinese soon to shore up his popularity. it’s the standard operating procedure for those goons to climb up the throne.

    that’s all to it in their stinking brains. and wittingly, may 13 may be the day mamak bendahara kick the bucket.

  6. #6 by dagen on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 - 10:44 am

    Yes. I support the effort wholeheartedly.

    Just ignore umno. They are useless and are nothing but a can of expired kitty food.

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