Wednesday, May 22

S’wak model of tolerance and harmony, says interfaith committee chief

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GOODWILL VISIT: Azman (second right) being briefed on the KBS village during the visit.

KUCHING: Religious tolerance and harmony in Sarawak is indisputably the best model for the country, Interfaith Harmony Promotion Committee (JKMPKA) chairman Datuk Azman Amin Hassan says.

Thus, it would not be a surprise if the state could score a perfect four in the one to four rating
for its racial and religious harmony.

Azman, who is also Unity and National Integration Department director general, disclosed this to reporters during his goodwill visit to the Kuching Buddhist Village at Jalan Batu Kitang near here yesterday.

The event, which also involved representatives from the various religions and beliefs, was held in conjunction with the World Interfaith Harmony Week.

He said although so far no official survey had been carried out in the state, through their observation the people in Sarawak had been able to live peacefully and harmoniously despite having the most number of ethnic groups and religions in the country.

“We hope to conduct an official study on interfaith and racial harmony in Sarawak soon and expect to get the result latest by end of this year,” he said, adding that similar research was carried out in Peninsular Malaysia by a team from UKM (University Kebangsaan Malaysia) where the score was 3.2 for a rating of one to four.

He said based on that it was almost definite that Sarawak would score a full mark since all the while the state had been able to display the highest standard of religious tolerance and harmony.

He asserted that in Sarawak everyone could get along with one another despite their different backgrounds, saying this was the beauty about Sarawakians.

“So far we have not received even a single case of racial or religious misunderstanding in Sarawak unlike in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.

The situation over there, he explained, could be as good as here if not because of certain people who like to use religious issues for their political mileage.

He cited the recent Allah issue which was raised unnecessarily by some political leaders for their personal gain.

“In this regard, we hope that our political masters will refrain from using religious and racial issues to gain popularity,” he noted.

Among those present to pay goodwill visit to the Buddhist Village yesterday were representatives from Hindu Association, Sikh Association, All-Saints Church Association and Islamic Information Centre (ICC).

Also with them was Kuching Chinese community leader Temenggong Lu Kim Yong.

They were received by Kuching Buddhist Society (KBS) community members.