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Stop being overly sensitive, M'sians urged
Publication Date : 16-08-2013
Malaysians should stop being over-sensitive and focus on the positive side of living in a multi-racial and multi-religious country, says National Unity and Integration Department director-general Azman Amin Hassan.
Azman said that as the 56th Independence Day celebration approached, it was important for Malaysians not to disrupt the national unity that was achieved over the years.
He said people of various faiths and communities had to closely interact in order to better understand each other’s differences.
“This is better than condemning or creating animosity,” Azman said.
“We should not divide ourselves as Muslims and non-Muslims.
“The Malaysian public is sensitive and we need to work on improving religious harmony with a lot of inter-faith dialogues,” he said Thursday.
Azman was commenting on recent events, including the setting up of a Facebook page called “Semenanjung Malaysia Anti Sabah & Sarawak (Peninsular Malaysia is anti-Sabah and Sarawak)” and other incidents which touched on religious sensitivities.
These also included the posting of a Ramadan greeting with a photograph of bah kut teh (local pork dish) and the caption “Selamat Berbuka Puasa (Ramadan greeting for breaking fast)” by sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee and the recent television company Astro disclaimer on a documentary on the new Pope.
Azman noted that over-sensitivity was easily propagated on social media where messages were transferred quickly and easily accessible.
“It seems there is one issue related to race or religion cropping up every week,” he pointed out.
“However, I believe such incidents do not reflect the overall sentiments of Malaysians,” he added.
“It is only a minority group that wants public attention.”
Meanwhile, an industry source said Astro had to comply with Provisions 3.12 and 3.15 of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code, adding that it would be in direct violation if it did not put in such a disclaimer before running programmes with references to religious views and scenes.
“As a licensed broadcaster serving all segments of Malaysia, Astro has to play a balanced role,” said the source.
Provision 3.12 of the code says broadcasters shall have regard to Islam as the country’s official religion while keeping in mind the constitutional right of freedom of religion of all other communities.
Provision 3.15 says the propagation of any religion other than Islam whether directly or indirectly is not permitted.