Malaysian NGOs support formation of inter-religious committee
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
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
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
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.