Malaysian NGOs support formation of inter-religious committee
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 08, 2010, 20:15
Kuala Lumpur: Several NGOs in Malaysia, including a Hindu association, have welcomed the formation of an inter-religious committee with hope that it would improve ties among the people of different faiths in this multi-ethnic country.

Muslim Welfare Organisation Malaysia General Secretary Abdul Hamid Othman said he fully supported formation of the committee as it could be used to explain the position of Islam which had eroded.

"Via the committee, all issues or matters that belittle Islam can be avoided to protect the status of Islam as enshrined in the constitution," national news agency 'Bernama' has quoted Othman as saying.

The former minister in the Prime Minister's Department said formation of the inter-religious committee in February would also stop efforts to degrade Islam.

The inter-religious committee includes representatives from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, Institute of Islamic Understanding and the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

Issues discussed by the committee include those related to inter-marriage, conversion, religious terms, child custody, building of worship houses and cemetery land.

Malaysian Hindu Sanggam Association President R S Mohan said formation of the committee would help improve racial ties in the country.

"With the committee, the various races can discuss issues on religion and solve them. We hope those appointed to sit on the committee can respect other religions," he said.

Malaysia Buddhist Youth Association General Secretary Sek Chin Yong hoped the committee would comprise all religious leaders in the country.

"I hope religious leaders can iron out the differences as we comprise many races from different religious background."

Majority of Malaysia's 27 million people are Malays who are all Muslims while 25 per cent are ethnic Chinese who are mostly Buddhists or Christians and eight per cent are ethnic Indians who are majority Hindus from Tamil Nadu.


First Published: Thursday, April 08, 2010, 20:15

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