(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
the meeting of the Commonwealth Committee on Terrorism in London at the end of
last month, preparatory to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)
in Brisbane next week, Malaysia proposed that dialogues between different
civilisations should be included among efforts to combat terrorism.
Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who represented Malaysia at the London
meeting, said the proposal was endorsed as part of a draft plan of action to be
submitted to CHOGM in Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane on March 2 to 5.
the London meeting, Syed Hamid said the inter-civilisational dialogues would
cover issues such as race, religions and cultures, and he expressed the hope
that such dialogues would strengthen understanding between different
civilisations, cultures and faiths.
fully supports the government proposal to elevate inter-civilisational dialogue
as an important element to promote international understanding to help defuse
the root causes of inter-religious and inter-civilisational suspicion, mistrust
and hatred as Malaysia is strategically placed to play a important role in this
process with the great religions,
cultures and civilisations of the world having a common home in the country.
the Malaysian government had virtually ignored the importance of inter-religious
and inter-civilisational dialogues in the past two decades, including the
United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilisations in 2001, which came and went
without any participation or interest by the Malaysian government - despite
various reminders by the DAP.
statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in London on
Monday that Malaysia was not ready for an inter-faith organisation and dialogues
is a sad commentary of one of the greatest failures of the 44-year Malaysian nation-building process as
far as promoting inter-religious
and inter-civilisational understanding in the country is concerned.
fact, Malaysia has gone backwards in this direction as during early years of
nationhood, there was conscious promotion of inter-religious understanding among
Malaysians, with the full encouragement of the government, as evident from the
establishment of the Malaysian Inter-Religious Organisation headed by a senior
the past two decades, the promotion of inter-religious understanding and ties
have been neglected, leading to a polarisation of Muslim and non-Muslim
relations - with opposition to inter-faith dialogues, understandings and
organisation being strengthened instead of being neutralised and resolved.
Government and the civil society should take a serious view at this neglect of
inter-faith dialogues and understanding in the country, and as a first step, DAP
calls for the establishment of a full Department
under the wing of the Prime
Minister for the promotion of inter-religious and inter-civilisational
understanding as an important element of Malaysian nation-building.
hopes that Cabinet Ministers, regardless of race and faith, would take this
important aspect of nation-building seriously and give it priority in the