Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, April 29, 1987:
DAP calls for the establishment of a National Inter-Religious Council to promote greater understanding and co-operation among the various religions and check religious polarisation.
Information Minister, Tengku Rithaudeen, said yesterday that the Government had accepted the offer of help from the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism in its efforts to achieve national unity.
Tengku Ritahudeen, who met a 10-man delegation from the council, rightly pointed out the importance of ensuring that there was religious polarisation in a multi-religious society like Malaysia.
There is no doubt that religious polarisation poses the greatest threat to nation building and national unity in Malaysia in the 1990s, and all the religious groups in Malaysia must co-operate and act in unison to nip religious extremism in the bud.
For this reason, the DAP calls for the establishment of a National Inter-Religious Council to promote greater understanding and co-operation among the various religious, and to work out a common national plan to check the growth of religious polarization.
I am aware that certain Islamic groups in the country oppose the setting up of an Inter-Religious Council in Malaysia, for as far as they are concerned, there is nothing for the Islamic faith in Malaysia to co-operate with other religious.
If such attitudes persist, then there will be no role for the various religious to work together to check religious polarization in Malaysia.
I hope the Cabinet will have the courage and foresight to take the lead to promote the establishment of a National Inter-Religious Council, which is vitally necessary for a multi-religious nation like Malaysia.
If there is no scope or possibility for the various religions in Malaysia to work together to promote inter-religious understanding and goodwill, and check religious polarization, isn’t something very wrong with our society and nation?
Efforts in the past to bring all the major religious in Malaysia into one body to work for the national good had failed, which are not good omens for the future for the nation. National leaders must dare to discuss and deal with this problem, for it will reflect whether Malaysians have the will to overcome obstacles in the path to greater national unity and integration.