Surely all right thinking Malaysian must support what this statement says.
Religious, racial and ethnic intolerance and inciting communal intolerance and hatred must be strongly condemned.
Freedom of speech and peaceful assembly to discuss any issue, even the so called 'sensitive' issues, should be allowed, indeed encouraged
Difficult issues will not simply go away, if they are disregarded, swept under the carpet or simply ignored.
Malaysians need to learn be more tolerant, more mature and must learn to live and let live, religion should be a voluntary, personal, and private issue, and no government, political party, group or individual should dictate to others about it.
Each and every person should respect and honour another's perception and belief of any religion.
Narrow-mindedness, bigotry and ignorance will only cause disunity and breed discontent and hatred.
Dewan Perhimpunan China Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor
Joint Press Statement issued on 12th August 2008
Malaysians must affirm free speech and denounce religious intolerance
We the undersigned organizations call upon all Malaysians to categorically express their disapproval of the actions of a small minority that resorted to intimidatory action to stop the forum on "Conversion to Islam: Art 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution, Subashini & Shamala Revisited" organized by the Bar Council on August 9.
While it is necessary for all Malaysians to be mindful of religious sensitivities, such respect must not extend to the condoning of extreme acts which are aimed at curbing legitimate public discussion.
In the specific case of the Bar Council seminar, we are given to understand that it was primarily an effort aimed at helping to clarify various legal and administrative provisions on religious conversion issues.
The forum could have provided useful inputs on helping resolve recent controversial developments had it not been unfairly misrepresented by various quarters, including the Government.
In fact, the organizers had taken the initiative to invite distinguished speakers from the Federal Territory Religious Affairs Department and Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKMI). Both speakers however declined invitation apparently after the forum was demonized by some quarters.
We uphold the right of our fellow Malaysians to exercising their freedom to dissent and even to engage in peaceful demonstration in defence of their concerns. If the protest outside the Bar Council had been civil and dignified, it would have been fully acceptable.
Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case. Although no violence ensured, the resort of rough action and abusive shouts of "babi" (pigs), "pengkhianat" (traitors) and "balik
We also note with dismay the police submission to the pressure of the protesters and their "advice" to the organizers to bring about a premature end to the meeting. This guidance follows closely on the government's own earlier reaction to the planned event and its attempt to compel the organizers to call off the event. The blatant double standards employed by Government and police in dealing with the protestors and the forum subject raises questions about the even handed and fair treatment accorded to all religions that the Government and authorities claim is happening in the country.
In this connection too, we would like to express our disappointment with the participation of the members of three political parties, UMNO, PAS and PKR as well as two parliamentarians, Zulkifli Nordin (Kulim-Bandar Baru) and Sallahudin Ayob (Kubang Kerian) in the abusive group of demonstrators.
The top leadership of these three parties must instruct their members to avoid looking out for opportunistic or narrowly partisan political and religious advantage at the expense of national interest. PKR leaders' prompt censure of Zulkifli Nordin's abusive behaviour is therefore commendable and exemplary. prompt censure of Zulkifli Nordin's abusive behaviour is therefore commendable and exemplary.
Finally we note with concern and condemn the petrol bombs attack directed at the previous house of Bar Council President Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan. We hope that there is no connection between that act and the role of the Bar Council in organizing the seminar and call on the authorities to fully investigate that action and bring the perpetrators to book.
The Undersigned Organizations:
1. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)
2. Civil Rights Committee of
3. Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI-Parliament)
4. Council of Malaysian Indian Trustee
5. Suara Rakyat
6. Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic movement (DEMA)
7. Persatuan Kebajikan Cahaya Wawasan Selangor
8. Persatuan Kebajikan Bharatham Selangor
9. Persatuan Kebajikan Vanniar Klang
10. Pertubuhan Belia Hindu Pelabuhan Klang
12. Youth Section of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH-YS)
This signature campaign is initiated by Civil Rights Committee of
Mr Ser Choon Ing, (Chairperson, Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH)
Mr Wong Chin Huat (Chairperson, WAMI)
For any details, please contact:
NO. 1, Jalan Maharajarela,
The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) is the umbrella organization of over 400 various Chinese community-based organizations in
WAMI is a group of writers for the Chinese media in
Bonum commune communitatis
- General welfare. Literally, common good of the community