THE concerns raised by the Malay rulers on the country’s unity and harmony are timely as there is no place for religious policing in a multicultural society, influential leaders and civil society groups said.
They were responding to the statement issued by the Malay rulers yesterday, who endorsed the Johor Sultan and Perlis Raja Muda’s decision to forbid Muslim-only launderettes in their respective states.
The rulers also expressed their concerns that recent actions in the name of Islam threatened the harmony and unity of Malaysia’s multicultural people.
Former International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz said Malaysia has no place for any holier-than-thou attitude nor superiority complex in any context.
“Malaysia’s diversity of its people, especially in the context of racial heritage, religion and all the diversities must not merely be ‘tolerated’ by everyone but must be accepted as a given, and therefore respected,” Rafidah was quoted as saying in The Star.
She added that each person must be allowed to keep their own faith and Islam taught Muslims to subscribe to the principles of moderation.
“More importantly, no one should make our diversity a political capital in order to win the support of the gallery,” Rafidah added.
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Razali Ismail pointed out that the rulers’ message was timely as recent actions and statements in the name of Islam have portrayed the religion as intolerant.
“This injunction by the Malay rulers reaffirms the dignity of every Malaysian and underlines the country’s unwavering commitment towards a more inclusive nation,” Razali said.
Tawfik Ismail of G25 took a swipe at politicians who seemed to have ignored the rulers’ power over religion in the last few years.
He said Malaysians have a high level of tolerance and that people are too busy making a living to pay attention to rhetoric.
Social media users yesterday praised the Malay rulers for making a clear stand on religious intolerance but questioned Putrajaya’s silence on the issues which could divide the country.
They slammed the ruling government for their weak response on the contentious Muslim-only launderette issue.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Joseph Kurup said the actions by extremists and bigots are destructive and not conducive to nation building.
“We will continue to implement various programmes to strengthen unity in our multireligious and multiethnic society based on the Federal Constitution and the five principles of the Rukun Negara,” he said, adding that all Malaysians should heed the advice of the rulers. – October 11, 2017.