PUTRAJAYA, May 6 — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has dismissed allegations that Islam is under threat from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
He said one of the biggest challenges the ministry faced for the last one year has been handling sensitive racial issues purposely created by certain quarters, besides threats to various religions in the country.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president said by right, the country should not be wasting time having to face such challenges when people should have already accepted that Malaysia is a multiracial and multi-religious country.
“Racial issues has been a major concern for us. We should by now already accepted that we are all different and learn to live among many races.
“Since it has been so long we lived like this, we should by right be in a position where we have accepted this and respect each other,” he said during a special interview ahead of PH’s May 9 anniversary of its first year in office.
Muhyiddin said the problem arises when certain people exploit this by picking on religious issues simply to create racial tension.
He said the public needs to understand that when someone incite racial tensions, they will always have some sinister intention, be it for political gain or to simply tarnish the PH government.
Muhyiddin said law enforcement alone will not solve this problem, but the government needs the cooperation of the entire community and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) representing various faiths to come together and stand united.
“It has been over 60 years since independence and we need to accept that we live with other races though Islam is the federal religion.
“The ministry has a role to play in terms of enforcement but at the same time the community must be aware as well,” he said.
Muhyiddin said allegations that Islam was threatened under PH were completely ridiculous.
“The position of Islam as a federation of religion has been enshrined in the Constitution. Allegation that the position and sanctity of the Islamic religion is under threat is not true at all.”
He said police are currently investigating 53 cases of insults against Muslims. Eight individuals have also been charged with insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad.
Muhyiddin said those involved in the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple fracas and related incidents also faced the full brunt of the law.
He said the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim in the incident was used to create racial tension by certain people, when the issue was between the temple committee and the developers.
“I want to remind everyone that the government is the one decided that there should be an inquest to identify the cause of death for Adib.
“Based on this inquest, all evidence pertaining to the death will be forwarded to the court during the open and transparent proceeding. For me this is the proof that the government is not hiding anything and that we have acted fairly,” he said.
He urged all Malaysians to be sensitive of other religions and to have a sense of responsibility.
“We are one. There is no reason why we must quarrel among ourselves just because you are Indian and I’m Malay, or you are Chinese, I’m Malay,” he said.
Working under Dr Mahathir’s leadership
On a separate matter when asked how it feels to work under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the second time, Muhyiddin said there was no difference at all.
“What difference? there is no difference, only the time is different, but the people are the same, I don’t see any big difference.
“The only difference is that this time we joined hands to bring down a kleptocracy government, where issues such as abuse of power was massive. So we were moved by the motivation to fix the country and the wrong things that was done by the previous administration,” he said.
Muhyiddin said even previously when Dr Mahathir was the fourth prime minister of Malaysia, there were issues with the government but it was not that serious.
‘The difference working now is the challenges that comes with fixing Malaysia Baru, many people think we are taking too much time, but they don’t understand that it has only been a year and there is so much to do.
“But whatever it is we will try to sort all the problems facing the country soon,” he said.
Use of social media by government agencies
Muhyiddin said the government understands that people want to see government agencies responding to issues much faster.
“I understand that this is something we lack and we are trying to improve on this part. On the part of the Home Ministry we are beefing up our social media team and will start engaging with people much more,” he said.
Muhyiddin said to a certain extent, the public has started to accept the fact that the government needs more time to see through and find solutions to the problems the country faced.
“The people know we are not resting on our laurels and that it takes strong effort and political will to pull through.
“We need time over two to three years to sort of set things back in order and people will see the changes, the changes that are for the betterment of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said he has always reminded all agencies under his ministry about their responsibility.
“We are here to serve the people and serve the people to the very best that we can. I had already set a certain standard when I worked in government before in various ministries.
“I constantly remind my officers to act as promptly as possible and that it’s not always about enforcement, but there is a need to show concern to issues faced by society and that there is a role for them to intervene before any crisis happens,” he said.