PAS, PKR give nod to Penang’s non-Muslim portfolio
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The DAP’s coalition partners have given their backing to Penang’s new non-Muslim affairs executive council portfolio, stressing today that it is a step in the right direction.
PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa told The Malaysian Insider that the new portfolio in the DAP-led state proves that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) practises religious and racial tolerance.
“For me, this portfolio will not conflict with the country’s administration where we already have a portfolio for Islamic affairs. So there should not be any problem to create a special portfolio to manage non-Muslim religions in Penang,” said the Islamist party’s unity bureau chief.
Mujahid (picture) said PAS has no objection to the portfolio, adding that it will foster greater harmony between the different communities.
“I hope that the existence of this portfolio is going to be a bridge to foster harmony in Penang unlike Umno that always uses religion to attack,” he said.
Mujahid added that the portfolio will help monitor other religions and act as a bridge between Islam and other religions in the state.
On Wednesday, the Penang government announced a new executive council portfolio to handle non-Muslim religious issues in the state, the first such portfolio in the country.
However, Utusan Malaysia reported that the portfolio is a “tool” that can be used to threaten Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.
The Umno-owned Malay daily said the portfolio, directly under Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, might discuss religious conversion, preaching, use of religious terms, construction of houses of worship and cemeteries, and could be used to put other religions on an equal footing with Islam.
PKR information chief Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty said non-Muslims also have the right to create a portfolio to help co-ordinate their respective religions.
“It will provide a platform to strengthen the understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.
“If it does not affect Islam then Muslims should not be worried if it is implemented,” he said.
Former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin also said the non-Muslim portfolio is not against Islam.
“We have to see what the functions are first. But if the portfolio is only meant for co-ordinating between the religions then on what basis are we going to reject the proposal?” he said.