Sarawak Churches Association demands Pasir Puteh MP retract statement on Bible and apologise

Archbishop Simon Poh

KUCHING, Aug 29: The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) has demanded that Pasir Puteh MP Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh retract and issue an apology for his insensitive statement made in Parliament that the Bible was distorted or changed.

ACS chairman Archbishop Simon Poh said that the statement that “Kitab Injil ini dipesongkan ataupun diubah” (the Gospel is distorted or changed) had crossed into the boundary of religious sensitivity and was an insult to all Christians who hold the Bible as sacred and holy.

“Such insensitive statements with strong allegations against another religion should never be allowed to stand without being rectified.

“It goes against the spirit of the Federal Constitution and MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) which guarantee the right of all citizens to religious freedom,” he condemned in a statement today.

Nik Zawawi made the remarks during his debate on the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 to propose heavier fines for drink driving offenders on Aug 26.

Poh stressed that the ACS considered the view and statement of Nik Zawawi as a direct insult on the Holy Bible, which is the most Sacred Book for all Christians.

“Crossing the boundaries into religious sensitivity with insults against Sacred Scriptures and teaching of any religions is totally unacceptable in such an August setting.

“ACS considers such statements as inflammatory and disrespectful to all people of goodwill who seek to live in harmony in Sarawak and in Malaysia,” he said.

Nik Zawawi’s statement that no religion allows consumption of alcohol, he continued, was unsubstantiated and simply generalised.

ACS, Poh emphasised, is committed to inter-racial and religious harmony and to contribute towards nation building through mutual respect and acceptance among people of all races, religions and status in Sarawak and in Malaysia.

“ACS respects the right of every person to his or her opinion. When this becomes an insult against religion, ACS strongly rejects such form of religious imposition from YB Pasir Puteh on Christianity and other religions.

“Political leaders are to set the example of civility, and work for harmony for the common good of all people. As citizens of Malaysia, ACS holds the Dewan Rakyat Parlimen in highest regard and believes that all issues are to be addressed in a rational and civil manner,” he said.

Poh reiterated that debates in Parliament should be based on rational facts and reasoning not religious sentiments or opinions.—DayakDaily