Huazong urges all quarters to defend moderation and secularism in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has expressed deep regret and disappointment over the Kedah state government’s firm decision not to review its recent ban of gaming and lottery ticket outlets in the state from January 1 onwards, as well as the Perlis state government’s declaration that it will be examining the legal standpoint before following suit.


In a response issued today, its President Tan Sri T.C Goh hoped all quarters, the ruling government and the opposition, as well as the people, will strive to defend moderation and secularism in Malaysia.

He emphasized that being essentially a multiracial and multi faiths nation, theocracy should be diligently kept out, whether at Federal or state governments, even in states or regions whose population is predominantly Muslims. The people of all races and different faiths should strive to understand and respect each other, instead of adopting the ‘majority rules’ policy to push for theocracy.

He thus called on the ‘unity government’ to pay serious attention to the issue, and to take immediate and appropriate measures to better safeguard Malaysia’s long established position, as a secular state, as well as its harmonious multiracial society.

Goh, who is also President of The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) also urged the state governments in question, to emulate the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak, in adopting moderate policies which promote racial, religious and cultural harmony, instead of the other way around.

“Despite being more racially diverse than peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak do not have any issue (with banning of licensed gaming outlets). We hope states in peninsular Malaysia too can adopt the same policy,” he said.

While acknowledging that no religions in the world are encouraging gambling, he nonetheless opined that gambling is a person’s personal conduct and has nothing to do with one’s faith.

“While we the non Muslims respect Islam and the Muslim community in our country, we must also realize the fact that Malaysia is a multiracial country which practices freedom of religion. Hence, the freedom of the non Muslim community, which includes gambling and drinking alcohol, should not be restricted or infringed upon, by citing religion, society or family concerns, which might be politically-motivated,” he said.

He underscored that, religion should not be made use of as a ‘convenient political tool’ by any quarters to achieve their political agendas, instead should remain focused on religious matters, and to strive to promote religious harmony, and love and compassion among Malaysians of different races and faiths.

Goh pointed out that the latest gambling ban implemented by the Kedah state government, and the Kelantan and Terengganu state governments previously, will inevitably result in the three state governments and the Federal government losing substantial tax revenues, besides causing many employees in the licensed gaming sector to lose their jobs.

He also urged the Federal government to immediately review some of the existing Federal and state laws concerning the gaming sector, which are contradicting each other. He cited for example, there had been incidents in the past where number forecast operators (NFOs) who have been issued with gaming license by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had to cease operations, when the state government through the local authorities declined to renew their trading licences.

“This clearly indicates a contradiction in jurisdictions between the Federal and the state government, and it should be promptly and properly addressed!” he stressed.

He underscored that it is important that the Federal and state governments must strive to ensure good cooperation and compatibility in major policies concerning businesses and investments, in order to better attract foreign investors to come in to invest in Malaysia, Sabah included.

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