Sabah minister: Right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Federal Constitution

Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick said the right to freedom of religion of every Malaysian is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. — Foto Bernama
Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick said the right to freedom of religion of every Malaysian is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. — Foto Bernama

KOTA BELUD, April 21 — The right to freedom of religion of every Malaysian is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, said Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick.

He said although the Federal Constitution stated that the federation’s official religion was Islam, other religions were free to be practised.

“Thus, as Christians, we do not have to worry about our religious rights although there are individuals and certain communities who have said things that may hurt our feelings.

“We may not be able to stop every individual from expressing his or her opinion, even though it could affect racial ties, but I’d like to state here that the government leadership will always defend this most fundamental right,” he said.

He said this when closing the Kota Belud-Tuaran Pathfinder Fair camp at the Datau Nakapan Kg Malangkap Baru eco-tourism site in Kadamaian here today.

Ewon, who is also the Kadamaian state assemblyman, called on the authorities to take stern action against individuals trying to create racial and religious strife, especially in Sabah.

“Let’s defend the culture of respecting religious freedom in Sabah, which has long been established, so that it will be a model to other communities nationwide,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ewon said the Sabah government allocated RM35 million this year to show it cared for the needs of non-Islamic religious institutions and mission schools. — Bernama

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