Sabah churches laud state’s religious tolerance

Sabah Bishop Melter Jiki Nais presents an invitation to the annual Kota Kinabalu Christmas celebration to Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman. — Picture by Julia Chan
Sabah Bishop Melter Jiki Nais presents an invitation to the annual Kota Kinabalu Christmas celebration to Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 21 — Non-Muslims in Sabah can continue to practise their faiths without interference thanks to a religiously tolerant government, Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) president Bishop Melter Jiki Tais said today.

Tais said Sabah’s non-Muslim community was fortunate that the state government has been supportive of the practice of other faiths through yearly allocations.

“This is because we have a chief minister who is racially and religiously blind,” he said to reporters after meeting with Tan Sri Musa Aman at the state assembly building here today.

“Everyone is treated equally and this gives us assurance that we can practise our faiths unhindered,” he said, adding that he he did not know of any other state that allocated yearly aid to non-Muslim religious bodies and schools.

Tais said that the community was touched when the Kota Kinabalu City Hall had an Easter greeting placed on its office building earlier this year.

“It may be small gesture for some but it was a meaningful one for us and speaks volumes about the leadership of our chief minister,” he said.

Earlier, he had invited Musa to the annual city Christmas celebration at Padang Merdeka. The event is jointly organised by the SCC and City Hall.

Musa had earlier today announced that the state government had increased its financial aid for non-Muslim religious bodies and schools over the years, and had given out some RM30 million this year.

“My priority has always been to ensure that the prevailing harmony among Sabah’s diverse communities and faiths continues,” he said.

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