T C Goh
KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has vehemently supported and commended the Sabah State Government for taking a firm stand to safeguard religious freedom in the state.
Its President, Tan Sri T C Goh, even described the Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor’s wise and firm decision in rejecting the proposed Bill on Control and Restrictions on the Development of non-Muslim Religions as one of the four new Syariah Bills, as a right move in preserving and instilling greater sense of belonging and unity among the people of Sabah of different races and religious backgrounds.
“We welcome and fully support the State Government and the Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor, for holding firm to the principle of religious freedom as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Malaysian Agreement 1963,” he said in a statement issued today.
Goh, who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council and President of the Federation of Sabah and Labuan Hokkien Associations (FSLHA), was responding to the Hajiji’s statement that Sabah is against any proposal that will restrict the freedom of religion of its people.
The issue of proposed Bill on Control and Restrictions on the Development of non-Muslim Religions cropped up recently, after some media picked up the news reported by PAS mouth-piece Harakah Daily, much earlier, which quoted Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Minister Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary for claiming that the Government plans to draft a Bill restricting the propagation of religions other than Islam, one of four new laws proposed by the Religious Affairs Department. The other three are the Wakaf, Mufti and Shariah Court Bills.
However, on Tuesday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department’s (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, clarified that the Government has no intention of enacting legislation to restrict and control the propagation of religions other than Islam. This was further confirmed by Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who said such legislation has not been discussed in the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Goh, who is also President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong), also called out certain politicians for attempting to play up religious matters to score political mileage.
He contended that such a proposed move is especially questionable and unwarranted during this Covid-19 induced devastating situation, when a vast majority of Malaysians have been struggling to stay afloat since its outbreak.
“We believe amidst this unprecedented challenging time of fighting the pandemic, a vast majority of right-thinking, peace-loving Malaysians are eagerly hoping that our politicians from both sides of the divide, would strive to better focus on resolving pressing issues which affect our country and the people’s livelihood and wellbeing, such as boosting our healthcare system and its capacity to better fight the pandemic, and to pave way for a speedy economic recovery, instead of unnecessarily stirring up issues which may further divide the people and undermine our political and economic stability,” he asserted.
He also believed a vast majority of Malaysians are wise enough to reject those selfish, irresponsible and delusional politicians who attempt to impose their misguided views and values on them, besides scoring political mileage.
“We must continue to remain vigilant against politicians who are delusional, selfish and irresponsible, to prevent them from destroying our beloved nation, at their whim and fancy,” he said.