PETALING JAYA: An interfaith council has called on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to take a stand against the use of religion to divide the nation, following a PAS MP’s recent controversial remarks on the Bible.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh’s comments crossed the line of bigotry as he had stereotyped the religion.
It said religious tensions would continue to escalate if his comments were condoned by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, adding that the matter had to be nipped in the bud.
“MCCBCHST calls upon the prime minister to provide moral leadership by making a statement to forbid politicians who seek to use religion to divide the nation.
“The speaker of the Dewan Rakyat also carries the responsibility on behalf of all Malaysians to disallow politicians who touch on matters of religion other than their own in debates.
“If nothing is done, the current government will bear full responsibility for destroying the religious harmony which has served to keep our country in peace and prosperity all these years,” it said in a statement today.
The interfaith council said Zawawi’s comments were a dangerous precedent and unacceptable, and that it would not allow irresponsible politicians to build animosity by disparaging other religions.
The statement was jointly signed by the council’s president Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim, Malaysian Gurdwaras Council’s Sardar Jagir Singh, Malaysia Hindu Sangam’s RS Mohan Shan, Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia’s Dao Zhang Tan Hoe Chieow and Malaysia Buddhist Association’s Venerable Sing Kan.
Zawawi had alleged in the Dewan Rakyat last week that biblical injunctions about drinking alcohol had been “distorted or altered”, and that the Bible had formerly outlawed the consumption of alcohol.
His remarks have brought protests from politicians in Sabah and Sarawak, and a Sarawak archbishop who called for a retraction and an apology. A sedition report was also filed against Zawawi in Kuching.