Speech by the Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, at the MCCBCHST Penang Inter-Religious Goodwill Dinner (en/cn)

Speech by the Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, at the MCCBCHST Penang Inter-Religious Goodwill Dinner, 2 December 2012 In In MBA, Burma Road:

It gives me great pleasure to be here tonight to engage together with the various religious groups in Penang – the Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoist and also our Muslim brothers in the spirit of peace and harmony. This spirit of goodwill as exemplified in tonight’s dinner augurs well for the future of religious harmony and understanding for the rakyat of Penang in particular, and the nation as a whole.

In today’s ever-shrinking global village, there is increasing interaction between followers of various faiths. Depending on how this happens, it can be for the better or for the worse. If we rub shoulders in a friendly way tempered with mutual understanding and respect, peace is fostered. However, when people are rubbed the wrong way, enmity is stirred up instead. Yet the most common and proven resolution for inter-religious differences and misunderstandings is by face-to-face dialogues between men and women of faith and good will.

Disagreement on religious issues is not a real problem if there is mutual agreement to disagree. But problems arise when certain groups insist on imposing their beliefs upon others while disparaging the views held by other communities. In this context, I am very happy to acknowledge and appreciate the good leadership and example shown by the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism Penang Branch in forging the spirit of mutual agreement to disagree while maintaining harmony, peace and mutual respect for one another and with our Muslim brothers too.

That is the reason that the Penang state government boldly took the initiative to establish the non-Islam Religious Affairs WXCO Portfolio to handle affairs of non-Muslims, headed by me. I can not understand the ferocious criticism by UMNO against me when we wanted to promote understanding amongst all faiths and civilisational dialogues. Further as non-Muslims are a majority in Penang, is there anything wrong to have a EXCO portfolio to handle issues that arise or help manage their affairs particularly when it does not affect the position of Islam in Penang?

UMNO has taken a very extremist view that does not respect the rights of non-Muslims. For instance an old Indian shrine was demolished by Penang Port Sdn Bhd(PPSB) controlled by the Federal government last year. To-date they have not fulfilled their promise to rebuild the Hindu shrine.

UMNO leaders have also not respected the requirement of providing land for non-Muslim places of religious worship on development approvals. When UMNO slandered me with lies that I had sold off mosque land in Bayan Mutiara to Ivory Property Group by open competitive tender, they failed to mention I had also sold off non-Muslim religious land.

Clearly UMNO did not mention non-Muslim religious land because the previous UMNO state government thinks non-Muslim have no right to being provided with non-Muslim religious land. I wish to stress that the state government had not sold off mosque or non-Muslim land in Bayan Mutiara as such religious land is a requirement for approval by local councils. If no Muslim or non-Muslim land is provided, then no development orders will be given. And the state government will provide for non-Muslim religious land.

Treating All Malaysians Regardless Of Race, Religions Or Gender As Our Children By Embracing Love And Rejecting Hate Will Allow Everyone To Live With Dignity.
All Malaysians regardless of race, religions or gender are treated as our children by embracing love and rejecting hate, promoting peace and rejecting violence so that everyone can live with dignity. There is deep concern that there is no action against those involved in violence or condone violence by racist and extremist organisations such as Perkasa. When a young Chinese girl was handcuffed for stepping on the picture of the Prime Minister, why was similar punishment not given to the Perkasa leaders who conducted a Hindu funeral rite in front of my house? The path towards non-violence is to embrace love and establish a civil society

A civil society is a “shared society”, would allow Malaysians to make diversity a positive force for equal opportunity and social justice. Four elements constitute such a “shared society” — democratic participation in decision-making, respect for diversity and the dignity of an individual, equal opportunity and the prohibition of discrimination.

We must stand together to fight corruption and abuse of power because only this success will build trust, provide progress and development to the people. Then only can the people live with dignity. Our children possess the inalienable right to live in dignity in an environment that is clean, green, safe and healthy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we should know that God does not take sides on party lines. Yet there are those who have recently claimed that they are the chosen people, and that their party has been chosen by God to rule the country. I believe that rather than asking whether God is on our side of our party, we should ask whether our party is on the side of God, good moral values like justice, integrity, freedom and truth.

Together, let us extricate ourselves from such wrong views and narrow thinking. If we are to progress as a nation, we must respect one another, and value each one of our brothers and sisters as children of God.

I would like to close by quoting Confucius, “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” Unfortunately we are more ashamed of wealth than poverty, that is why wealth is now covered up until such wealth(RM40 million) can only be uncovered in Hong Kong or Australia.

We should be ashamed of poverty and that is the reason why Penang is implementing the Equitable Economic Agenda to wipe out poverty in Penang by 2013. As the poverty line indicator is RM763 per month for every household, Penang can only be free from poverty if every family is assured of receiving RM770 per month.

To ensure every family gets RM770 per month, the state government will make up the shortfall monthly. In other words, if a family gets RM600 per month, the state government will top up with RM170 every month – not every 5 years or every 50 years.

In 2009, Penang was proud to be the first state to wipe out hard-core poverty. By 2013, Penang is equally proud to be the first state to wipe out poverty in Malaysia. Let us wipe the shame of poverty to prove we are a well-governed state that takes care of the poor. We can prove to Confucius that a well-governed state need not be ashamed of poverty because we have freed Penang from poverty.

—- Mandarin Version—-

槟州首席部长林冠英于2012年12月2日在槟城五大宗教咨询理事會(MCCBCHST)的宗教间友好晚宴上发表演讲,重点如下:

在今天的地球村,各宗教间的交流互动也频增。互动的结果依据不同的情况,结果可以很好、或变得更糟。如果我们能以友善、相互理解和尊重的方式往来,我们就能缔造和平。但是,如果产生错误的摩擦,仇恨就会产生。解决各宗教间的差异、误解最普遍及最有效的方式是各宗教不分男女,在信念和友善的基础上进行面对面对话。

如果我们抱持“相互包容,求同存异”,那么对于宗教课题的不认同就不是真正的问题。问题是,当某些群体执意强加自己的信仰给其他人,而且轻视其它社群的意见。在这里,我很珍惜五大宗教咨询理事会槟州分会的领导及风范,他们秉持“相互包容,求同存异”的精神,相互之间、以及与穆斯林同胞之间维系着和平、和谐及相互尊重的关系。

这也是为何槟州政府大胆主动成立非伊斯兰宗教事务的行政议员职,以我为首,在处理非穆斯林事务。我不明白巫统为何强烈批评,我们要的只是促进各宗教之间的谅解和文明对话。再说,槟城大多数人口为非穆斯林,在绝对不影响槟城伊斯兰地位的情况下,增设一个处理及协助非穆斯林事务的行政议员职,有何不妥?

巫统选择了非常极端的看法,完全不尊重非穆斯林的权利。 例如,去年由联邦政府掌控的槟州港口有限公司拆毁了一座兴教神龛。至今他们都还没有兑现诺言,重建神龛。

巫统领袖也不尊重的发展批文上保留非穆斯林宗教保留地的条文。当巫统诬蔑我,指我出卖峇央珍珠湾的清真寺地段给参与公开招标的玮力集团,他们并不提及我也出卖非穆斯林宗教保留地。

很明显地,巫统没有提到非穆斯林宗教地,因为之前的巫统州政府认为,非穆斯林没有权利拥有政府提供的宗教保留地。我要强调,州政府并没有出卖峇央珍珠湾的清真寺地段或非穆斯林宗教地段,因为宗教保留地必须经由地方政府批准。如果发展商不保留穆斯林或非穆斯林宗教地,地方政府将不会发出发展批文。而州政府也将为非穆斯林提供宗教地。

唯有拥护爱心社会、拒绝仇恨,不分种族、宗教、性别地对待全体马来西亚人如同本身的孩子,才有助于打造一个让全国人民活得有尊严的马来西亚。

唯有拥护关爱、拒绝仇恨,不分种族、宗教、性别地对待全体马来西亚人如同本身的孩子,才有助于打造一个让全国人民活得有尊严的马来西亚。我们深切关注我国的公共机构涉及由种族主义及极端组织,如:土权组织发起的暴力行为或纵容这些暴力行为。当一名华裔少女因踩踏首相的肖像而被上手铐,为何那些在我家门前举行兴都葬礼的土权领袖却没有被对付?一个无暴力社会是一个拥抱爱心及创建公民社会。

公民社会,即共享型社会, 能让马来西亚人利用多元性,成为一股争取机会平等和社会公义的积极力量。建构上述共享型社会的四大要素是:决策过程经过民主参与、尊重多元及个人尊严、平等机会、以及严禁歧视。

我们必须一起对付贪腐及滥权,唯有如此,我们才能建立信任的基础,为人民带来进步及发展的。人们才能活得有尊严。我们的孩子才能拥有不可剥夺的权利,有尊严地生活在干净、绿意及安全的环境里。

我们知道上帝不偏政党。 最近却有人说他们是被上帝派来治理国家的人。我相信,与其追问上帝是否站在我们这一方,我们不如问自己是否与上帝一样,拥护如公义、廉正、自由、追求真理的良好价值观。

让我们从错误及狭隘的观念中解脱。如果我们要进步,我们必须互相尊重,重视彼此皆为上帝的儿女。

孔子说:“邦有道,贫且贱焉,耻也;邦无道,富且贵焉,耻也。”不幸的是,我们因富而羞耻,因此,国内一些人必须将财富(如4000万令吉)藏起来,只有在香港或澳洲才被发现。

我们也应该因贫穷而感到羞耻,这也是为什么槟城推行公平经济议程,志在2013年扫除贫穷。由于我们贫穷水平线为每个家庭每月收入763令吉,唯有确保州内每户家庭每月收入达770令吉时,槟州才可算是扫除贫穷。

为了确保每户家庭每月收入达770令吉,州政府将会每个月“加额”,换句话说,如果一个家庭月入只有600令吉,那么州政府会另外每个月“补贴”170令吉 - 不用等到每五年,或每50年。

2009年.槟州成为第一个扫除赤贫户的州属,我们希望能在2013年成为第一个扫除贫穷户的州属。让我们以扫除贫穷之耻,来证明我们是一个管理有方、照顾贫户的州属。我们可以向孔夫子证明,一个管理有方的州属不必为贫穷感到羞耻,因为我们能够让槟州贫民脱离贫籍。

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