Amnah Khalid, BeyondHeadlines
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Islam will continue to be national religion of Malaysia, confirmed Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying it cannot be changed in whatsoever form.
The Malaysian society was recently rocked by the controversy by a media report. It claimed opposition leaders had met in a church and prayed for the official religion be changed to Christianity. However, the opposition had denied the holding of any such prayer meeting and was “disturbed” by the report.
Race and religion are sensitive issues of the Malaysian society following the Race Riots of 1969 and best avoided to maintain harmony and peace deliberately. The country is composed of ethnic Malays, Indians and Chinese practicing Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism.
The incumbent prime minister has followed the 1 Malaysia Policy to integrate different ethnic groups and respect different cultures.
Taking up the matter, 22 Muslim leaders among whom were the Perak Mufti, chairmen of Islamic Religious and Cooperation Advisory Board and National Fatwa Council held and hour-long meeting with the prime minister. After the meeting, the prime minister said: “The reality is that we have the Federal Constitution, and its provision on the position of Islam and the other religions is very clear. No one should be worried or feel uneasy about this matter.”
The reassurance was timely in preventing misunderstanding and escalating the situation to the advantage of a political mileage of the opposition.
The prime minster was also met by Bishop Tsen of the Council of Churches who described the report “highly irresponsible.” He reiterated: “We are working toward peace and harmony. We respect the constitution. It is unfortunate that this happened. It is not helpful at all toward a multi-religious relationship.”
It made the prime minister happy in church leaders gave reassurance to work toward harmony and respect of Islam. He said: “I am glad to inform that Christian leaders have given two very important and meaningful undertaking.”
The editor of the newspaper that carried the report was summoned to the Home Ministry for publishing the report.