Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Malaysia Government intolerant of non-muslim faith groups

Malaysia's Muslims upset other faith groups
Tuesday, 8th January 2008. 2:26pm

By: Nick Mackenzie.

HINDUS have been joined by other faith groups in Malaysia in protesting about new laws that will limit the allocation of visas to non-Muslim priests working there.
The head of the Malaysian Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism, said that the new rules would mainly affect Hindus as they made up the majority of foreign clergy working in the country.

He added that the new rules were already having an impact as clergy already working there have been issued with only six-month extensions to their visas, and told that they must leave the country when they expire.

Council president A Vaithilingam, himself a Hindu, said he was shocked at the new rules as previously the immigration authorities had carried out negotiations with religious groups in the past.

And it is not only clergy who will be affected. He said that visas for temple musicians had been reduced from one year to six months, and temple sculptors had theirs reduced from six months to one week.

"Why are they carrying out the sudden action to restrict foreign priests from practicing in the country when there are millions of foreign workers who are allowed to work here," he said.

This is the latest development in an ongoing row between Malaysia’s Muslims and those of other faiths. ReligiousIntelligence.com reported yesterday that a Government decree banning non-Muslims from using the word ‘Allah’ has been branded an affront to religious liberties by a Malaysian Christian group.

Last month British Hindus claimed that Muslims in Malaysia have been denying the Hindu minority of freedom of worship, tearing down Hindu temples, including the destruction of the over 100-year-old Maha Mariaman temple at Pendang Java.

Ethnic Indians in Malaysia have claimed they are being discriminated against by the majority Muslim Malays. But Taoists have also complained after they were blocked from constructing a statue.


No comments: