Abdullah: Stop Activities On Inter-faith Issue

NST 26 Jul 2006 M. K. Megan and Azura Abbas

KUALA LUMPUR: All activities relating to the formation of the Inter-Faith Commission should cease immediately as the religious tension in the country has reached a worrying level, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said last night.

The Prime Minister said the Cabinet had already decided to postpone the setting up of the commission. “I don’t know why this group of people have to carry out activities related to it. It is creating unnecessary problems. The Government will, in the near future, make an announcement on the Inter-Faith Commission,” he added. Abdullah, who is also the Internal Security Minister, reminded the people that religious issues were very sensitive. “They evoke emotions. When discussed openly, and without control, they create anger, and this leads to unwanted situations.” He said Umno was worried about the current situation, where the issue of religion was being hotly debated by various parties. “We have to be careful and be moderate so as not to create a situation where people from various faiths get all tensed up,” he said. Abdullah, who was speaking to reporters after chairing an Umno supreme council meeting, was commenting on the Article 11 forum in Johor Baru recently that was disrupted by a few thousand people, including members from Umno Youth and Pas.

To a question, he said he was generally satisfied with the media’s reporting of sensitive issues such as the Article 11 Forum and other issues involving religion. The conference, which ends today, will address topics such as media law and control, local media and the challenges of globalisation, and the competition between print and the web media. At the session on media law and control, the panelists debated whether current laws were outdated because of new media technology, and whether laws were applied fairly to all media, as print and electronic media were regulated by different ministries.

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