KUCHING: The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) considers remarks made by Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh regarding the Bible as inflammatory and disrespectful to all people of goodwill who seek to live in harmony in Sarawak and Malaysia.
“ACS respects the right of every person to his or her opinion. When this becomes an insult against religion, ACS strongly rejects such form of religious imposition from YB Pasir Puteh on Christianity and other religions,” said ACS president Archbishop Simon Poh in a statement issued yesterday.
As such, ACS is demanding that the Pasir Puteh MP retract his remarks in Parliament, and tender a public apology to all Christians.
“His remarks that ‘Kitab Injil ini dipesongkan ataupun diubah’ (The Bible is distorted or changed) have crossed into the boundary of religious sensitivity and are deemed to be an insult to all Christians who hold the Bible as sacred and holy,” Poh said in the statement.
Nik Zawawi uttered the remarks during the debate on the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2020 to propose heavier fines for drink driving offenders on Aug 26.
The PAS elected representative made the remarks to support his claim that all faiths forbid the consumption of liquor.
Poh said the insensitive remarks with a strong allegation against another religion should not be allowed to stand without being rectified, calling it a violation of the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 that guarantee the right of all citizens to religious freedom.
He added that ACS holds the Parliament in highest regard and believes that all issues are to be addressed in a rational and civil manner, but crossing the boundaries into religious insensitivity with insults against sacred texts and teaching of religions was wholly inappropriate.
“ACS considers the view and statement of YB Pasir Puteh as direct insult on the Holy Bible, the most Sacred Book for all Christians. This is considered as serious and unacceptable since these statements were openly said and recorded in the official transcript of the 14th Dewan Rakyat Parlimen on Aug 26 at 2.57pm onwards,” he said.
Poh also said ACS is committed to inter-racial and religious harmony and to contribute towards nation building through mutual respect and acceptance among people of all races, religions and status in Sarawak and in our nation Malaysia.