PKR leader in Penang urges strict control on ‘Jom Ziarah Gereja’

PENANG Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) has advised that any programme inviting Muslims to visit non-Muslim houses of worship in Penang must be referred to MAINPP for compliance with guidelines. This must include do’s and don’ts.MAINPP president and Penang Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman stressed that organisers must be non-governmental organisations (NGOs) related to unity or social work, as the program needs to be carried out in a controlled manner.He added that Penang adheres to the Administration of Islamic Religious Affairs Enactment 1993, which prohibits the spread of other religions to Muslims.This comes in response to a news report about an NGO organising a visit to a church and inviting non-Christians to join. Authorities have also launched an investigation against Bersatu member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, who linked the Youth and Sports Ministry to Christian proselytisation. Badrul Hisham, also known as Che’gu Bard, accused the ministry of funding an NGO to entice non-Christian youths to visit churches.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman (Photo credit: Malay Mail)

Sentul police chief Beh Eng Lai confirmed the investigation, emphasizing that the police will not tolerate individuals inciting public unrest through race and religion-related issues. The public has been advised not to speculate or make provocative comments on the issue.Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh denied that interfaith events organised by Impact Malaysia, a group linked to her ministry, were effectively proselytising Muslim youths.She clarified that no Muslim youths were registered for the Project Article 11 programme, which is described as a social impact initiative of Impact Integrated, an agency under the Youth and Sports Ministry.Meanwhile, PAS non-Muslim supporters wing chief Senator Balasubramaniam Nachiappan called for the scheduled visit to the Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Klang to be thoroughly scrutinised.He emphasised the importance of building a harmonious Malaysian society while considering the guidelines set by the authorities. Balasubramaniam sees the implementation of such programmes as fostering better understanding and inter-religious tolerance, but stresses the need to follow established guidelines. — March 18, 2023

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