The Penang state government has established a new State Executive Council portfolio for non-Islamic Affairs to handle religious matters relating to Buddhists, Christians, Sikhism, Taoism & Hinduism. This is the first time that a state executive council portfolio has been formed in Penang and the EXCO member in charge will be the Chief Minister.
The State EXCO for Non-Islamic Religious Affairs was presented by Deputy Chief Minister II Professor Dr P. Ramasamy to the weekly state EXCO meeting and approved last week. Professor Dr P. Ramasamy will be the deputy in this non-Islamic Affairs EXCO portfolio.
The establishment of the non-Islamic Religious Affairs portfolio marks the celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week by the United Nations this week. Unlike the Federal Government’s Committee for the Promotion of Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony, this is not a committee but a full EXCO portfolio and reflects the state government’s genuine concerns on all religious matters.
Further as a George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage city, the formation of this EXCO portfolio is timely as it promotes diversity and positive human interaction on cultural, religious and social spheres. Despite our differences, we are united by our common aspirations for good practices and universal moral values of peace, justice, moderation and harmony. Co-operation not confrontation, mutual respect not tolerance, and understanding not ignorance will be the governing creed of this new Penang EXCO portfolio.
Penang is willing to work with the Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak’s who had expressed hopes at the United Nations’ 65th general assembly last year, during which he said he did not want any extremist or militant groups to threaten unity and security in Malaysia. The Penang state government is concerned at the existence of extremist groups who seeks to racialise every event for their own selfish interests. Penang has been under siege with attacks of being anti-Malay even if it only involves only 10% Malays or one Malay out of 10 affected parties.
The Penang state government calls on the people to embrace the future by embracing every Malay, Indian, Chinese, Kadazan and Iban, as Malaysian brothers and sisters, Malaysian sons and daughters.
Then only can we grow together, learn together and enjoy the success together.