New religious bills raises concern



KUCHING: The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) considers the recent move or any future attempts to introduce Shariah bills affecting non-Muslim religions as directly contravening the very spirit of the formation of Malaysia where Sarawak, Sabah, and Malaya are equal partners.

“Furthermore, the Federal Constitution clearly states in Article 11(1) that every person has the right to profess and practise his religion.

“Such bills to control and restrict the development of all the non-Muslim religions should never be allowed to be tabled in our multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia,” said ACS chairman Archbishop Simon Poh in a statement on Thursday (Sept 9). 

He was commenting on recent reports that four new Shariah laws were being drafted by the federal government, including a bill on the control and restrictions of the development of non-Muslim religions.

Poh said it was also reported that Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary had said a Wakaf Bill, Mufti Bill, and Syariah Court Bill were the other new laws being planned.

“ACS reiterates the stance of our chief minister of Sarawak, our Sarawak political leaders and Members of Parliament, and Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), that have consistently rejected any introduction of such laws that would undermine and destroy the harmony among races and communities in Sarawak and Malaysia,” said Poh, who is also the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching.

He noted that on Aug 22, newly appointed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his maiden speech presented the concept of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ where all Malaysians can be united regardless of religion and race.

“He pointed out that Malaysians are all a part of a family despite their diversity in religion, race, and ethnicity, with all of them complementing and needing each other as different parts of a single body. We are a ‘Malaysian Family’,” he said.

Poh added that in Sarawak, in conjunction with Malaysia Day, Inter-faith Harmony Walks had been organised since 2017.

“In pre-pandemic years, thousands of Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hinduism, Muslims, Sikhs, Taoists, and people of goodwill have walked together as friends on the streets of Kuching and other major towns to promote mutual respect, acceptance, harmony, and unity as Malaysians,” he said.

He stressed that this is an integral part of the social fabric of Sarawak.

“As Malaysians, let us work together and assist one another to overcome this pandemic. The heads of churches of ACS wishes all Selamat Hari Malaysia,” said Poh. 

SMC after coffee shops operating as bistros

SIBU: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has warned coffee shop operators to not operate as bistros, which is tantamount to misusing their licences. Its Chairman, Clarence...

Share post:

Our Opinion

More like this

Ship’s crew member found dead, another still missing

MUKAH: One of the two missing crew members of...

State looks to modern, young farmers

KUCHING: Sarawak has the expertise to train farmers with...

PUSAKA donates RM5k to badminton association

KUCHING: The Sarawak Badminton Association (PBPNS) received a RM5,000...

Teenage trekkers found safe by rescuers

BINTULU: Six teenage boys who lost their way while...

3,695 set to graduate from UNIMAS

SAMARAHAN: A total of 3,695 graduates will receive their...

UTS must aspire for world class intellectual content

SIBU: University of Technology Sarawak (UTS) has been urged...

Make the most of ReTex, V-C tells students

SIBU: Exhibitions such as the Research, Technology, and Creative...

UTS expo on ideas becoming creative products

SIBU: University of Technology Sarawak (UTS) is holding a...

RM200k to upgrade Darul Ibadah mosque

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has allocated RM200,000 for the...

Miri two-wheel rubbish bin promotion is back

MIRI: Mayor Adam Yii has disclosed that the two-wheel...

RM80k to provide longhouses better road access

BINTANGOR: An allocation of RM80,000 has been approved to...

Parking defaulters given until July 31 to pay up

MIRI: Motorists who have been dragging their feet to...