Christina Liew queries Hajiji

(Daily Express) – Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah Deputy Chairperson, Christina Liew, questioned Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Hajiji Hj Mohd Noor, on his explanation that the State Government's objection to the construction of the Mazu statue in Kudat had nothing to do with Fatwa but unsuitability of location.

She said this was because in Hajiji's own Tuaran constituency, there is a huge Buddhist Pagoda located in the heart of town and even nearer to the Tuaran district mosque.

"Both the pagoda and mosque have existed in harmony for years without any fuss. It is a true reflection of a harmonious society in Sabah – a sight which you don't find in too many states in Malaysia, except in Sabah, Sarawak and Kelantan," she said, adding there are also three huge goddess statues in Kelantan even though it is a Muslim-dominated PAS State Government.

Liew was responding to Hajiji who on Saturday said that the State Government's objection to the construction of the statue was due to the inappropriate location and not due to any Fatwa purportedly issued by the Fatwa Council.

"Let me make this very clear. This matter has nothing to do with any Fatwa. After careful study, we found the place to be unsuitable," he had said in a statement.

However, Liew claimed his statement contradicted the contents of a letter purportedly written by the State Mufti's Office to the Chief Minister. She claimed the letter dated 7 July, 2006, is posted on the Malaysia Today website and had been widely viewed by Malaysians.

"However, since the Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) case is pending court action, we will let the court decide and the rule of justice prevail," she said in a statement.

"We maintain that the people of Sabah have been living in complete harmony in spite of different backgrounds, religions and race even before independence. We maintain that freedom of religion must be practised in its true sense and not by lip service only.

"It is not uncommon to have family members with different faiths living under the same roof and we respect each other's religious practice accordingly."

In this regard, Liew hoped that the State Government would not bulldoze whatever it wanted to do and to also be tolerant towards criticisms and comments.