KUCHING, Sept 7: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak supported the Sarawak state government’s decision to simply ignore the directive issued by Department of National Unity and Integration (JPNIN) on the advice of Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to forbid Muslim and Non-Muslim from praying or reciting their prayers together in a function.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen emphasised in a press release today that Sarawak must not follow the directive and just maintained its current practice.
“Constitutionally, Sarawak is also in the position not to comply with JPNIN’s directive,” he said.
Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, stressed that it has never been an issue in Sarawak to have interfaith gathering and that followers of different religions reciting their prayers together in any function.
“In fact, this is the hallmark of Sarawak’s religious harmony,” he added.
“The directive of JPNIN will only bring about more racial and religious segregation in Sarawak and is not conducive to racial harmony in Sarawak,” he pointed out.
According to news reports, joint prayers at unity events involving both Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia have been barred under a directive issued by an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department.
The directive from the committee to promote understanding and harmony between religions, which is under the National Unity and Integration Department, was issued on Tuesday (Sept 3).
The directive mentioned two types of prayer sessions – one where Muslims recite their prayer simultaneously with members of other faiths who recites their own prayers before a function begins.
The second is when Muslims and non-Muslim groups each pray before a function begins.
The directive stated that on the advice from Jakim, both of these types of prayers should not be held in the same programme.
It instead said that such prayers should be replaced with activities where the message of unity is shared.— DayakDaily