Monday, December 31, 2007

Malaysia Urged To Lift Ban On Huge Taoist Statue

Malaysia’s opposition on Monday urged the government to lift a ban on construction of the world’s tallest Taoist Goddess of the Sea statue on Borneo island in the latest row over sensitive racial and religious issues.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, who heads the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party, warned that if the row was not resolved it could hurt racial harmony in the Muslim-dominated country.

‘The insensitive controversy objecting to the building of the Mazu statue is created by a small group of Muslims with ulterior political objectives, which set a dangerous precedent in undermining inter-religious goodwill in Malaysia,’ he said.

Local authorities in the fishing village of Kudat in Sabah state had approved construction of the 36-metre (108-foot) Mazu statue in December 2005.

Workers had completed the platform when the state government ordered work be halted. The state mufti (Muslim scholar) last July followed up with a religious decree that the statue would offend Islam.

Sabah’s deputy chief minister resigned in protest and in early December filed a legal suit challenging the order to halt construction.

Lim said the issue had been mishandled by the government. ‘The controversy undermines nation-building, inter-religious understanding and makes Malaysia an international laughing stock,’ he said.

Malaysian commentators have sounded alarm over the growing ‘Islamisation’ of the country and the increasing polarisation of the three main ethnic communities, which mix much less than in the past.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in multiracial Malaysia, which experienced deadly race riots in 1969.

In recent weeks there have been controversies over a Catholic newspaper’s use of the word ‘Allah’ and Islamic Sharia court cases between Muslims and their non-Muslim spouses.

Five Hindu rights activists have also been detained under a tough security law following a mass rally alleging discrimination against ethnic Indians in Malaysia.

About 60 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims. The rest are mostly Buddhist, Hindu or Christian Chinese and Indians. (Khaleej Times Online)

***** Lim Kit Siang is absolutely correct on two points. Firstly this is the dirty work of just a few scheming politicians and officials aligned to Umno. Secondly Malaysia has become in many ways an international laughing stock, which is sad really, for if only the top Malay leadership could avoid seeing everything through the lens of race and religion and taking decisions which are both divisive and politically expedient, there would be true racial harmony unlike the fake type we see on RTM's propaganda channels. Moreover polarisation would be a word Malaysians would not have heard of. Now wouldn't that have been nice?

Earlier related post: 30-Metre High Jesus Statue Built In Indonesian City, While Sabah Mufti's Fatwa Declares Buddhist Statues Haram.
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Anonymous Freedom & democracy for all said...

The completion of the 36-metre (108-foot)Taoist Goddess of the Sea (Mazu) statue Kudat in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, should be approved unconditionally.

Religious tolerance should be not only talked about, it should be unversally practiced.

Allah will not be pleased by the few fanatical Muslims, which are it seems are led by the Mufti of Sabah, who are the instigators of this injustice.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of Malaysia, any attempt at 'Islamisation' should be strongly rejected, utterly condemmed and totally outlawed.

9:47 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

The other objection is that the construction of any statue or replica of a living thing, either human or animistic, is haram and should not be allowed – which is the fatwa of the Mufti of Sabah.
Because of this then our beloved "Tugu Negara" will have to go also!
Either that or we get rid of these "good for nothing" Muftis who are not only are a waste of time but a waste of our hard earned Tax Ringgit!
We keep hearing this well worn lines "Religious & Racial Tolerance" but we DON'T see it at all!

10:51 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, it was the work of musa musang. he did it as "payback" vendetta against chong who sculpered musa's grand but unsustainable development plan for sipadan.
the musa fella wouldnt have imagined chong has the spine to resign and fight the case in court. the political fallout against Bn will be large this time round.

10:30 PM GMT+8  

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