KOTA KINABALU, Sept 1 ― The Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) is the latest to slam Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh for his comments on the Bible, and called for a reprimand and investigation for sedition.
Describing the statements as “unacceptable,” SCC president Rev Bishop James Wong said it is sad and disappointing to hear his comments especially during the nation’s 63rd Merdeka Day celebrations where Malaysians have been celebrating its strength and unity in its diversity.
“He has not only erred in his facts but in doing so he has crossed the line of decency, let alone honour and respect for fellow citizens and human beings,” he said, expressing particular dissatisfaction at Nik Zawawi’s attempt at apology by saying Christians had no right to be offended because it was a fact that the Bible has been distorted.
“Instead of debating the weightier issues at hand in the interest and safety of the rakyat, YB Pasir Puteh has resorted to criticising the Holy Bible, which is the most Sacred Book for all Christians, not only in Malaysia but in the whole world,” he said in a statement here.
“To suggest that any fellow citizen who holds s different religious belief from his own needs to first earn ‘the right to be offended’ has completely disregarded the feelings and sentiment of other races and religious communities in this nation,” he said.
Having deeply offended the Christians in Malaysia with his statement, Wong asked for Nik Zawawi to issue an unreserved apology and retract the statements he made in and outside Parliament.
“We also ask that the government of the day issue a reprimand to YB Pasir Puteh for issuing such disrespectful and insensitive statements offending the Christian communities and initiate an investigation into the seditious statements made by YB Pasir Puteh which have hurt the feelings of other races and the Christian communities, which may stir up negative feelings among the different religious communities in Malaysia,” he said.
“As citizens of Malaysia, SCC holds the institution of Parliament in the highest esteem. SCC believes that while Members of Parliament must be given the freedom to express themselves and advocate their views, it must be done within the boundaries of respect for the people whom they represent, it must be done in the best interests of the people, it must be done in an exemplary manner for whom they lead to emulate,” he said.
He said that Parliament was no place for religious sentiments and that elected representatives represent not only their respective constituents but Malaysians for the whole of Malaysia.
Nik Zawawi sparked public outrage with his comment made during a debate on a transportation Bill in Parliament’s Lower House last week.
While debating the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 to propose heavier fines for drink-driving offenders, the Pasir Puteh MP asserted that the Bible had been perverted or corrupted, which immediately drew condemnation from other members of the hall.
Nik Zawawi was later saying that he had no reason to apologise since his statement was “a fact”, and then suggested the community had “no right to be offended.”