PETALING JAYA: Selangor DAP commended state exco member Teng Chang Khim for taking full responsibility for a gaffe revolving around non-Muslim places of worship and said there was no reason for him to step down.
Selangor DAP chief Tony Pua said the question of Teng resigning from the PKR-led government did not arise as the Sungai Pinang assemblyman “committed no crime”.
“He has neither stolen money from the state government coffers nor abused his powers to benefit vested interest parties like developers,” Pua said in a statement in a veiled jab at the Barisan Nasional.
Earlier today, Malaysiakini reported that Teng offered to resign as a state Exco member following the uproar against the state’s guidelines and planning standards restricting non-Muslim places of worship.
At a press conference, Teng revealed that he had detected the error and had instructed that amendments be made.
But he admitted he did not double check as he believed the changes had already been made.
“I admit the mistake and take full responsibility. If you think I made a mistake that warrants my resignation, I will resign, if it is so serious,” Teng was quoted by the portal as saying.
Pua went on to praise Teng for taking full responsibility for the “unintended error and omission”, despite the fact that the guidelines were approved by the Selangor State Planning Committee.
“To err is certainly human, but what is most important is the fact that immediate steps are being taken to ensure that these errors are corrected upon discovery.
“No one has yet suffered or been penalised by the guidelines for new non-Muslim places of worship.”
He said the Selangor DAP state committee met in an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the public concerns over the guidelines and planning restrictions over non-Muslim places of worship.
The state committee heard the explanation provided by Teng, who is Selangor DAP vice-chairman, that despite having requested state government officials to make the necessary changes, the changes were not incorporated into the final version of the guidelines.
The DAP committee unanimously agreed that the recommendation that non-Muslim places of worship should not be built within 50m of a home owned by Muslims, as well as several other guidelines are not appropriate for a multiracial, multi-religious society which encourages mutual respect and tolerance.
Such guidelines, Pua noted, were the status quo for other BN-led states like Johor and Negeri Sembilan.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP also said that Selangor DAP supported Teng’s decision to seek the Exco’s approval on Wednesday for immediate suspension of implementation of the guidelines pending revision.
The Selangor DAP, he added, in the light of the gravity and sensitivity of the matter, would set up a special sub-committee to assist Teng and ensure that “no stones are left unturned” in the revision process.
The sub-committee will be led by Selangor DAP vice-chairperson Hannah Yeoh and four other members, Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran, Selangor DAP committee member Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, Damansara Utama MP Yeo Bee Yin and Kinrara assemblyman Ng Sze Han.
“Selangor DAP would like to reiterate that the constitutional provisions providing for Islam as the religion of the federation and guaranteeing the freedom of religion would be defended at all cost.
“We firmly believe that such provisions can only be achieved with tolerance, respect and acceptance of such freedoms by all Malaysians.”