THE Dewan Himpunan Pendukung PAS (DHPP) or the PAS Non-Muslim Supporters Wing holds the view that uproar surrounding the controversial “Jom Ziarah Gereja” (Let’s Visit Church) programme ought to be resolved in a courteous and harmonious manner.
Towards this end, its chief Senator Balasubramaniam A/L Nachiappan wants the scheduled visit to the Our Lady of Lourdes church in Klang tomorrow (March 18) to be “thoroughly scrutinised”. The programme is organised by Impact Malaysia which is a non-profit organisation under the Youth and Sports Ministry.
“This is important in building a harmonious Malaysian society because it is a sensitive matter related to religion,” PAS’ first ever non-Muslim senator told the HarakahDaily.
“Although the DHPP sees the implementation of this programme to foster better understanding and values of inter-religious tolerance as good in principle, it is necessary to take into account the guidelines set by the authorities.”
According to Balasubramaniam, DHPP agreed on the position of Islam as the federal religion and the strict prohibition set by law against the spread of non-Islamic religions among Muslims.
“PAS is a party that is very tolerant of all religions and races and even respects us as DHPP members,” justified Balasubramaniam who was sworn in as member of Dewan Negara for a three-term period from June 16, 2020 until June 15, 2023.
“In fact, PAS does not prevent DHPP members from practicing our religion and culture nor does it force us to embrace Islam.”
Delving further on the issue, Balasubramaniam said even the PAS leadership has visited churches and temples “but it must not involve matters that can affect the relationship of the multi-racial and multi-religious community”.
He further echoed the statement by PAS secretary-general, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan yesterday (March 16) that it is vital to understand this issue in the context of all forms of relationship, involvement, visits or the like between Muslims and non-Muslims—either individually or in groups—and that earlier statements should be seen solely from the perspective of non-ritual or religious matters.
“It is not open to participation without conditions, and every effort must be made to ensure that the conditions are not violated,” added Balasubramaniam who contested under the PAS ticket for the Bentong parliamentary seat in the 2018 national poll but lost in a three-corner fight to Wong Tack (Pakatan Harapan-DAP). – March 17, 2023