KUCHING, Aug 30 — Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas is appealing to everyone to calm down and cease from engaging in further inflammatory debates or exchanges in both social and print media with regards to Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh’s recent opinion on the authenticity of the Bible.
Uggah, who is the minister in-charge of Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), said freedom of religion is provided for in the Federal Constitution and this also meant having mutual respect for each other’s faith and religion.
“Every religion is sacred to its followers and no one should play God and judge the authenticity or correctness of another faith or religion as this can cause religious conflicts and chaos.
“We have laws such as the Sedition Act and the Penal Code to prevent religious conflicts among the different faiths and religion. The relevant authorities must act to strictly enforce our laws for any breach thereof by anyone to ensure continuing respect for our laws and judicial system,” he said in a statement today.
Uggah asserted that every faith and religion teaches its followers to practise good and noble values of love and forgiveness for one another.
Regardless of any legal course of action that may arise from what Nik Muhammad said regarding the Bible, he felt that Christians can be magnanimous and gracious enough to forgive him even without him apologising.
“God is absolute and supreme above all his creations and as such God does not need our protection and defence. However, this does not mean that we do not enforce our laws whenever someone breaks the law otherwise our citizens will not have any respect and fear for our laws.
“Our law enforcers must be vigilant and be ready to act without fear or favour whenever anyone breaks the law,” he pointed out.
Uggah said the Sarawak government has established Unifor to look after the welfare of those religious faiths other than Islam to ensure religious harmony in the state.
Unifor is also a recognition by the state government of the important role that every religion played in nation-building as every religion taught and promoted good values, love, peace and unity, he said.
“We cannot allow the conduct of the few religious extremists and bigots to destroy the existing religious harmony and unity in our state and country.
“That is why our state government will continue to guard our unity and religious harmony by stopping religious extremists and bigots from entering Sarawak as this is part of our immigration rights entrenched in MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963),” he added.
Uggah called upon all leaders in the country including elected representatives like Nik Muhammad and all religious leaders to bear their responsibility and set good example by showing respect and compassion for followers of different faiths to maintain religious harmony and national unity.
He said their words and actions would be the best testimony of their faith and belief.
“Let us take lesson from history and the experience of those countries ravaged and torn by civil strife and war just because of religious and racial differences.
“The religious freedom, guaranteed by our Constitution and protected by our laws, requires everyone to respect each other’s faith and learn to appreciate and accept our differences.
“God has created us all with different racial and cultural identity and God also gives us the ability and capacity to understand, appreciate and celebrate these differences in order to have a peaceful and prosperous society and nation,” he added. — Borneo Post Online