- Advertisement -

Harmony not your exclusive subject, PAS tells Hannah Yeoh over defence of church visit programme

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan accuses the youth and sports minister of taking past statements out of context in defence of the 'Jom Ziarah Gereja' programme.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan. Photo: Bernama
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan. Photo: Bernama

PAS today called for a halt to a cross-religious programme organised by an agency under the youth and sports ministry after the minister in charge Hannah Yeoh cited past statements by the party's leaders who did not oppose Muslims visiting other houses of worship as long as they do not take part in rituals.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said Yeoh, in quoting party leaders during her parliamentary response yesterday, was attempting to drive a wedge between the party and its ally Bersatu, following protest by several quarters in the wake of a Bahasa Malaysia poster of the "Jom Ziarah Gereja" programme to promote a visit to a church.

"The intention behind her action became more apparent when she refused to allow PAS or Bersatu MPs to respond.

"Furthermore, the minister speaks on the importance of harmony and understanding as if it is an exclusive subject that does not involve parties who do not agree with her," he said.

Takiyuddin said PAS welcomed all efforts to instil harmony among Malaysians of all creeds and cultures.

But he said that programmes such as the one organised by Impact Malaysia would only defeat its purpose, adding that it would create bigger differences as well as open protests.

Defending the programme yesterday, Yeoh had cited remarks by the PAS deputy president in 2018 on the permissibility of Muslims visiting temples and churches.

The church visit programme by Impact Malaysia under its Projek Artikel 11 was criticised by Perikatan Nasional activist Badrul Hisham Shaharin.
In a poster uploaded on Instagram, Impact Malaysia said it aimed to spread understanding about the similarities and differences between religions.

The poster was later taken down from the social media platform. 

It was also attacked by Umno Youth leader Dr Akmal Salleh, who threatened to stop the programme himself and take legal action against Impact Malaysia and related agencies.

On Tuesday, PAS MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari said while the programme was good in principle, the government should involve religious experts such as from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia or Jakim.

Takiyuddin today said Yeoh should stop quoting statements from PAS leaders out of context and using them as a political weapon.

"In this regard, PAS would like to state that what is important is to understand that these statements were made in the context that all forms of relations, involvement, visits and so on between Muslims and non-Muslims, either individually or in groups, are only allowed in matters that do not involve rituals or are religious in nature. 

"Its participation is not open to all without conditions, and every effort must be made to ensure that those conditions are not violated," he added.