Activist: Exploiting religion for politics threatens to tear society apart, push Malaysia back to stone age

Peter John Jaban

KUCHING, March 20: Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) deputy president Peter John Jaban warns that Malaysia risks failure should it continue down the path of religious intolerance and extremism.

“Using religion as a political tool to gain power and control is not only unethical but also detrimental to the progress and development of a nation, especially in terms of economic growth.

“Religious beliefs supposed to be followed in accordance to one’s religious teachings and not by interfering and imposing it to others and restrict their freedom and ways,” he said in a statement today in view of the many recent incidents, particularly in Peninsular Malaysia.

Underscoring the alarming rise of xenophobia, racism, racial discrimination and intolerance in the nation, he highlighted recent acts such as the baseless accusations against vernacular shools as “breeding ground for intolerance in the country”, controversies surrounding school canteen operations during Ramadan month, bans on international celebrities and artists from performing in Malaysia, and the strict rules and guidelines imposed on holidaymakers in destinations like Langkawi.

“These acts not only showcase the ignorance and insensitivity of certain individuals, but also highlight the need for greater understanding and respect for diversity in the country,” he said.

Peter believes many Malaysians are deeply concerned and increasingly disturbed over the level of racial and religious intolerance which is morphing into a threat to national unity and harmony by extremist and conservative thinking group.

“In the purpose of economic growth and development, religious participation and beliefs should not be an interference or hindrance towards the success of the nation.

“These would push the country back to stone age, causing further impact on the country’s economy which is already struggling with the rise of standard of living, increase in basic food essentials, the fall of ringgit and the country’s staggering debt of RM1.5 trillion,” he pointed out.

“It is time to put an end to the religious extremism that is threatening the unity and harmony of the nation,” he added. — DayakDaily