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Religion not a problem in Kelantan, says pastor

Lim Khet Keang who has pastored in the state for more than 30 years says Muslims and non-Muslims alike get along in peace.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
Cars seen parked near a decorative archway in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Cars seen parked near a decorative archway in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

A pastor in Kelantan says that Christians in the state have been living in harmony alongside the Muslims despite the perception that non-Malays may be oppressed under PAS rule. 

Lim Khet Keang, who pastors the Kota Bharu Presbyterian Church, said he had lived in Kelantan since he was 10 years old.

He said he had never been prevented from practising his Christian faith despite being part of a very small minority. 

On the contrary, he said, ties between the Muslims and non-Muslims in Kelantan were very good, and nothing like what is portrayed on social media. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Lim, 56, said such harmony was only possible with mutual respect and understanding from both sides. 

"Christians here are doing well. The Muslims respect us," he said. 

"Perhaps they do not see us as a threat given that non-Malays make up only 3% of the population in Kelantan." 

Concerns of a so-called PAS theocracy arose following the results of the Nov 19 general election which showed that a vast number of Malay voters had shifted their support from Barisan Nasional and Umno to PAS. 

PAS, which is part of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, won the most seats in the election – 49 – followed by DAP with 40. 

Many social media users had cited the PAS administration in Kelantan as reason to reject the Islamist party. 

But Lim, for one, said it was unfair to criticise PAS based on its stand on upholding the teachings of Islam.

Instead, he said, the party should be evaluated based on its development of the state.

"There are no issues of race or religion here," he said. "But development is undeniably slower than in other states." 

Lim, who has been a pastor in Kelantan for more than 30 years, also said he would welcome either Muhyiddin Yassin or Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister as long as they prioritise unity and harmony. 

"It doesn't matter to me who becomes prime minister because the government right now appears quite weak," he said. 

"We must focus on economic development and guarding the welfare of the people if we want to keep moving ahead."