Thursday, September 19

Sarawak PH supports state government stance on joint prayer directive

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KUCHING: The Sarawak government’s decision to ignore a directive on joint prayer between Muslims and non-Muslims has received support from Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak.

PH Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen said this directive issued by Department of National Unity and Integration, on the advice of Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), must not be followed in Sarawak.

Chong also pointed out that constitutionally, Sarawak is also in the position not to comply with the department’s directive.

“It has never been an issue in Sarawak to have interfaith gathering and that followers of different religions reciting their prayers in any function.  In fact, this is the hallmark of Sarawak’s religious harmony.

“This directive of the Department of National Unity and Integration will only bring about more racial and religious segregation in Sarawak and is not conducive to racial harmony in Sarawak.

“On this count, Sarawak PH supports the Sarawak State Government’s decision to simply ignore the directive and maintain our current practices,” said Chong, who is also federal Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

On Friday, Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi had said inter-faith gathering is not an issue in Sarawak in response to the prohibition of prayers at such functions.

Dr Abdul Rahman added the recitation of a Muslim prayer at state government functions will continue, even with the presence of non-Muslims, as  such prayers were usually for universal wellbeing, peace and harmony.