Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ban On Raising Sensitive Issues For Racial Harmony, Says PM.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the move to prohibit the public and media from raising sensitive issues was aimed at maintaining racial unity and harmony in the country. He said the decision was taken after certain quarters had raised sensitive issues, especially those related to religion, resulting in controversies and uneasiness among the people of different beliefs.

"Raising sensitive issues is forbidden and should not be equated with prohibiting people from engaging in inter-religious dialogue, which is encouraged at various levels," he said in his written reply at the Dewan Rakyat, here Wednesday.

The Prime Minister was replying to Lim Kit Siang's (DAP-Ipoh Timur) query as to why the government encouraged freedom of religion and inter-faith dialogues at the international level but prohibited the people, including issuing warnings to the media, about touching religious issues.

Abdullah said he often stressed the importance of the spirit of consensus among Malaysians of various ethnic races and religions, and he himself had held dialogues with various religious groups from time to time. He said from the aspect of raising religious understanding in the country, most Malaysians were more keen on holding dialogues between religions.

"We find there are various channels for the various communities to discuss and exchange views. As such, such dialogues will continue be promoted and the government will encourage Islamic scholars from Jakim and Ikim to be involved."

He said besides the Religious Committee under the Working Group Advisory Panel on Unity, the Department of National Unity and National Integration would also be holding inter-religious dialogues to foster understanding among the people. The dialogues focused on issues such as crime prevention and drug abuse, which required the cooperation of people of various religions for solutions, he added.


**** Who am I a mere blogger to go against the diktats of a powerful government leader? Are querying the PM's statements and asking clarifications banned too? Is questioning the credibility of some of these 'scholars' from Jakim and Ikim allowed? Is doubting the competency of some bodies like the Department of National Unity and National Integration prohibited? Is raising doubts about the sincerity of government leaders and suggesting that they are playing politics instead of genuinely wanting to foster inter-racial and inter-religious unity forbidden? Is opining that we as a nation are regressing in our inter-ethnic relationship when compared to as little as five years ago an unlawful act? If the answer to any one of these questions is 'Yes' then I'll try to be more circumspect in future. The last thing I want to do is run afoul of the law.


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