Razali: Ngeh’s call can affect racial, religious harmony


(Bernama) – The call by Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Beruas) for Muslims to respect the rights of members of their faith wanting to embrace another religion is something not appropriate and can affect racial and religious harmony in the country, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim.

“In religious matters, besides the Federal Constitution, we also have provisions under the constitutions of the states, and edicts issued by the Islamic Religious councils or Fatwa Councils.

“In this matter, we cannot see things from one perspective only,” he told Bernama.

Razali, who is also an Umno Supreme Council member and the MP for Muar, said Ngeh should not cite Article 11 (of the Federal Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion) to support his argument without taking into consideration Article 3 which details the position of Islam.

Ngeh, who brought up the issue at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today, said any citizen above 18 years should have the right to embrace the religion of his or her choice and that it was his hope Muslims could accept this because religion was a personal matter.

He also said in child custody battles, the party awarded custody should be given the right to raise his or her children in the religion he or she practiced until the child reached the age of 18 after which it was up to the person as to which religion he or she wanted to follow.

Ngeh also questioned the crackdown by the authorities on Malaysians who embraced Shiite teachings, saying it was their right to do so as like the Sunnis they were also a sect in Islam.

Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak), who is also Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, meanwhile, said the statement by Ngeh was very inappropriate as he did not understand Islamic laws.