Respect Each Other’s Religion, Ongkili Warns ‘Troublemaker’ NGOs

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Ongkili presents a donation to Maimunah Yahya, a single mother, during the Ziarah Ramadhan programme at Kampung Pekan Lama on Monday.

By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA MARUDU: A senior Sabah politician Monday issued a stern warning to non-governmental organisations who tried to destabilise the country by giving their own interpretation of how religions should be run in the country.

“We treasure the existing peace and harmony amongst the people of various religions that we have enjoyed since the formation of Malaysia,” acting Parti Bersatu Sabah president Dr Maximus Ongkili said.

“Today’s harmonious situation has been achieved through respect to the Federal Constitution and practise of moderation and tolerance towards each other’s religion,” Ongkili who is also Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister added.

Responding to a provocative proposal by a coalition of Islamic NGOs to ban Christian evangelicalism in Malaysia, the Kota Marudu Member of Parliament further explained that religious freedom and practises are guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

The ‘Ziarah Ramadhan’ by PBS saw senior citizens and single mothers get a gift from Ongkili.

He noted that religious congregations are allowed, subject to certain laws, adding that there are sufficient laws in the country to deal with religious extremism.

“No group, especially NGOs who claim to be religious in nature, can take the laws into their own hands.

“If such happens, it would only lead to religious misunderstanding and tension, thus resulting instability in our country,” he said.

Ongkili stressed that stern action should be taken against those who try to create such instability, especially when their statements are contrary to the Federal Constitution and seditious in nature.

Recently, the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) chief executive officer Azril Mohd Amin described evangelicalism as a ‘dangerous movement’ and urged it to be kept in check as it threatens religious harmony in Malaysia

Azril said the government should consider introducing anti-evangelicalism to ensure attempts by evangelicals to dominate the Christian narrative do not occur.

Last week Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Joseph Kurup, said groups like Centhra are only fanning hatred and distrust across the nation for their own interests.

“We should continue to build and develop Malaysia into a modern society, blessed with our own unique cultures and diversity to further strengthen our success story.

“We should never allow fringe groups to hijack our national agenda by fanning hatred and distrust for their own selfish interests,” the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said in a statement.

Kurup also slammed Centhra for its “repulsive” act, by proposing such a “twisted” idea during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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