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—-
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。