By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Aug 30: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas has called on all parties to stop from engaging in further inflammatory debates with regards to comments made by Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh in Parliament recently.
Uggah said all the leaders in Malaysia including elected representatives like Nik Zawawi and the religious leaders in Sarawak must bear the responsibility and ought to show good example by showing respect and compassion for followers of different faiths to maintain religious harmony and national unity in the country.
“I wish to appeal to all parties concerned to calm down and cease from engaging in further inflammatory debates or exchanges in both the social and print media on this very sensitive subject.
“Our freedom of religion which is provided for in the Federal Constitution also means having mutual respect for each other’s faith and religion.
“Every religion is sacred to its followers and no one should play God and judge the authenticity or correctness of another faith or religion as this can cause religious conflicts and chaos.
“We have laws such as the Sedition Act and the Penal Code to prevent religious conflicts among the different faiths and religions.
“The relevant authorities must act to strictly enforce our laws for any breach thereof by anyone to ensure continuing respect for our laws and judicial system,” he said in a statement.
He said every faith and religion taught us to practice good and noble values of love and forgiveness for one another.
Uggah added regardless of any legal course of action that may arise from what Nik Zawawi said regarding the Bible, Christians can be magnanimous and gracious enough to forgive him even without him apologising.
He said God is absolute and supreme above all his creations and as such God does not need our protection and defence.
However, Uggah said that does not mean that Malaysia does not enforce our laws whenever someone breaks the law otherwise its citizens will not have any respect and fear for the country’s laws.
“Our law enforcers must be vigilant and be ready to act without fear or favour whenever anyone breaks the law,” he added.
Uggah who is also the Minister in charge of Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), said as part of the state government’s effort to ensure religious harmony in Sarawak, Unifor was established to look after the welfare of those religious faiths other than Islam and to maintain unity and religious harmony among the different religious faiths in the state.
He said it is also a recognition by the state government of the important role that every religion plays in nation building as every religion teaches and promotes good values, love, peace and unity.
He said the people cannot allow the conduct of the few religious extremists and bigots to destroy the existing religious harmony and unity in the state and country.
Uggah who is also Second Finance Minister, added that it is why the state government will continue to guard Sarawak’s unity and religious harmony by stopping religious extremists and bigots from entering the state. This is part of the state’s Immigration rights entrenched in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Our words and actions will be the best testimony of our faith and belief. Let us take a lesson from history and the experience of those countries ravaged and torn by civil strife and war just because of religious and racial differences.
“The religious freedom guaranteed by our constitution and protected by our laws require everyone to respect each other’s faith and learn to appreciate and accept our differences.
“God has created us all with different racial and cultural identities and God also gives us the ability and capacity to understand, appreciate and celebrate these differences in order to have a peaceful and prosperous society and nation,” he added. —DayakDaily