By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Sept 7: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is calling all Sarawakians to subscribe to their religious teachings of peace and good deeds so that Sarawak continues to move forward in harmony.
He said all religions here teaches their followers to live in peace and respect for one another, and with that Sarawak has been enjoying the peace and harmony among its people till now.
“What is the benefit if we fight among each other? What’s the point of you living in fear? We should make use of our lives contributing to society and that is the basis of what the leaders of Sarawak are doing for the state,” Abang Johari said at the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) Assistance Recipients Meet here, today.
He cited a recent news that an authority in the peninsula was directed by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) that Muslims should not hold a prayer recital at functions together with non-Muslims, criticising the move, which could spoil religious harmony among Malaysians.
Abang Johari explained that he based his administration on the Medina Charter, established by the Prophet Muhammad, where people of all religions including the Jews were treated equally in the Medina administration some 500 years ago.
“We are very fortunate in Sarawak we live like this. We respect each others. Sometimes ‘doa’ (pray) also can be an issue. Lately there is this news cannot have doa (with non-Muslims).
“Doa is asking for blessings from god, all towards good things. This is your faith, that if you do good things and good deeds, God will be with you,” he said.
Abang Johari also pointed out that is was utmost important that Sarawak exercise its autonomous immigration powers to keep religious extremists and bigots away from the state, who could incite hate among the peaceful people of Sarawak.
“When there is an action, there will be an opposite equal reaction. If there are extremists on one side, the other side will also have extremists. Nobody will win like this. That is where there are bigots coming out from both sides.
“Luckily for Sarawak we have our immigration powers, we prevent these bigots from coming into the state. We are peaceful people and I will continue to exercise that (immigration) power,” he said.
With the state administration exercising fair and just teaching from all religious beliefs, Abang Johari believed that the state would be able to smoothly transform its economy and become the most developed state by the year 2030.
“As long as you submit to the good teaching and discipline of your beliefs, I am confident we will have a bright future.
“I’m very fortunate I have my colleagues (Cabinet ministers) having the same value system and they understand what we are doing. Even the Muslim communities (in Sarawak) when I talked about Unifor, they said yes because we must be fair to everybody, that is the Muslims in Sarawak.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the other side (Peninsular Malaysia), but as far as Muslims in Sarawak have that philosophy – coexisting with one another – this sort of approach will make Sarawak a peaceful state,” he said.
Abang Johari presented a mock cheque of RM30 million to Unifor in symbolic to this year’s allocation. — DayakDaily