Monday, December 17, 2007

Malaysia rules out dedicated dept. for non-muslim affairs; why not declare Hindu an official religion?

Malaysia rules out dedicated dept. for non-Muslim affairs

Kuala Lumpur, (PTI), Dec. 18, 2007: A day after ethnic Indian activists sought setting up of a Non-Muslim Affairs department, Malaysia on Monday said it was "difficult" to meet the demand as Islam is the country's only official religion.
Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, however, said that absence of such a dedicated department did not mean that the government had forsaken other religious communities in this predominantly Islamic country.

The government had provided many channels and mechanisms to enable the various communities, including ethnic Indian Malaysians, to air their grievances, Najib told reporters.

They have also been provided with places of worship, he said.

Leaders of 40 Malaysian Indian NGOs on Sunday called on the Prime Minister's Department to set up a Non-Muslim Affairs Department to solve issues confronting citizens who were not Muslims.

Najib said the government had set up a department to look after Islamic affairs as Islam is the country's official religion.

"It's difficult to set up such a dedicated department as the other religions don't fall under the official religion category," he was quoted by Bernama as saying.
Multi-ethnic and Multi-religious Malaysia's 60 per cent population of 27 million people are Malay Muslims while ethnic Chinese are 25 per cent mostly Christians and Buddhists, while Indians form 7.8 per cent mostly Hindus. There is also a sizeable Sikh population here.

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