Regardless of our religious views, we have to be mindful of our words and cater to the sensitivity of others. After all, isn’t living harmoniously in a multiracial society with different religions and beliefs the very essence of being Malaysian?
Recently, during the debate on the motion of heavier punishment for drunk drivers in Parliament on 26 August 2020, a Member of Parliament made a controversial remarks regarding how religions viewed alcohol.
The MP for Pasir Puteh, Nik Zawawi claimed that all religions prohibits consuming alcohol, including Christianity which was corrected by Beruas MP, Ngeh Koo Ham who said that the religion allowed people to taste alcohol but not to get drunk and referenced how Jesus and his followers had wine during the last supper according to the Bible.
He said the bible was “amended”
As reported by FMT, Nik Zawawi who is a PAS backbencher in Parliament said that Ngeh needed to check his facts and claimed that the current version of the Bible “was amended”.
That remark caused controversy and is seen as a very insensitive and ignorant statement to be made in Parliament, of all places.
Today, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) in a press statement has demanded the Pasir Puteh MP to retract his remarks and apologise.
ACS Archbishop Simon Poh said,
“His remarks that ‘Kitab Injil ini dipesongkan ataupun diubah’ (The Bible is distorted or changed) have crossed into the boundary of religious sensitivity and are deemed to be an insult to all Christians who hold the Bible as sacred and holy,”
Poh further iterate that such insensitive remarks and inflammatory allegations against another religion should not be allowed to stand without rectified. It could be deemed as a violation of the highest law of the land, the Federal Constitution as well as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 which guarantees the freedom of religion to all citizens in the country.
Poh further iterated that as an MP, Zawawi should set an example of civility and work for harmony for the common good of all people. The press statement further reads,
“When this becomes an insult against religion, ACS strongly rejects such a form of religious imposition from the PAS MP on Christianity and other religions,”
Zawawi has since declined to apologise for his remarks, as reported by Malaysiakini, but is more than willing to hold a harmonious dialogue with Christian leaders.
Zawawi told Malaysiakini that there was no need for an apology and even said he shouldn’t have to. The Pasir Puteh MP said,
“I don’t want to comment, what I said is right. Why should I apologise?”
He even claimed that what he said was a fact and not an accusation so believers of Christianity have no right to be offended.
While his consistency on his beliefs are commendable, this is really not the kind of attitude we want to see from a political and religious leader. However, his willingness to have an open dialogue on the matter may open up the doors for a mutual understanding on the matter.
What do you guys think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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