“Meeting between Agong and Archbishop of Canterbury bodes well for interfaith relations”

Datuk Bolly Lapok

KUCHING, Dec 12: News reports of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in London reflects His Majesty’s keen desire to promote and strengthen inter-religious understanding and harmonious relations.

Highlighting this, retired Anglican Bishop of Kuching and Brunei Right Reverend Datuk Bolly Lapok welcomed the news, saying it was refreshing and most timely.

“Given that both Malaysia and the United Kingdom (UK) are multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-religious countries, His Majesty and His Grace would have had much to share with each other on the challenges of multi-faith societies, especially in light of increasing incidences of racial and religious intolerance, polarisation and violence around the world,” he opined in a statement today.

He added that this can only bode well for the future of inter-faith relations between and within both nations.

His Majesty held a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the latter’s official residence in Lambeth Palace, London today (Dec 12).

The Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah are currently in the UK on a special visit untill Dec 16.

Bolly also welcomed the announcement by the Sabah government on instituting an additional public holiday in the state on Christmas Eve (Dec 24) starting this year.

“It is an answer to many prayers. In states where Christians constitute the majority or the largest group by population, being able to have an additional day to observe the holy commemoration of Christmas is to be welcomed.

“It will afford more time for the Christian community to prepare for the various religious observances at Christmas, to travel to be together with family and friends, and to share the celebration of this season with all members of the community,” he added.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal made the announcement last night (Dec 11) and hoped the additional public holiday will enable those celebrating Christmas to return home earlier. — DayakDaily