Monday, 12 April 2010

The Inter-religious Committee - A Small Fry

So said the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Can you believe that? It is just incredulous. He dismissed. rather contemptuously the nascent committee that has been approved by the Cabinet to solve religious issues and conflicts as a "small fry". He has apparently aligned himself with the right wing PERKASA which has vehemently opposed the idea of an inter-faith council unless it is directly under the control of the Islamic Department. PERKASA views it as a sign of Muslim weakness, of giving in to non-Malay demands. To allow such a council to exist independently would mean a threat to Islam as the official religion. By aligning himself with the right wing group, Muhyiddin is slowly but surely chipping away the Prime Minister's 1Malaysia model; he is slowly but surely pitting himself against the Prime Minister.

Being forced to state his position in relation to the 1 Malaysia concept, he has declared himself as 'Malay' first and 'Malaysian' second, which is contradictory to 1 Malaysia which is “a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second”. We could never deny who we are but the fact is that we live in a country called Malaysia, so we should think of ourselves as Malaysians, and solve our problems as Malaysians.

The proposal to set up an inter-religious council has been mooted many times in the past, but it has been shot down. The fact that the government has realized the need for one is a breakthrough. It is time to give it a chance, however slim, and in this pressing times to resolve our religious conflicts. And the DPM has by his callous remark thrown cold water on the committee.

I cannot help but feel that for every step that the Prime Minister has taken dogs are snapping at his heels.

Postscript: Well, it seems that the DPM did not use the phrase "small fry" and the various online papers have issued their apology to the DPM.

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