KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Bung Moktar Radin hopes that the state government will give due consideration and approval to the proposed construction of the Mazu Statue in Kudat.
He said that the project is believed to be able to contribute to the economic development of the state, particularly in the tourism sector, and at the same time, the local people will also benefit from business activities, including the selling of local handicrafts to foreign tourists who come to Kudat.
“Of course there are pros and cons, however we need to look at it from a broad perspective, especially in terms of economic returns through the tourism
sector which can ultimately help develop the economy of the state and the local people,” said Bung of the proposed construction of the Mazu statue in Kudat, in a statement here today.
The proposed building of the Mazu Statue was opposed by several NGOs, including the United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA).
According to Bung, who is also the Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman, the construction of the Mazu Statue does not actually interfere with the devotion of Muslims to worship, let alone harmful to Islamic faith.
He said this was evidenced from the existing Mazu Statues in other states, including Kelantan, Penang and several other states which did not even affect the lives of the Muslim community in the state concerned.
“We see in Kelantan, which is known as the State of Serambi Mecca, the building of statues or mazu in the state does not cause any issue of religious sensitivity or affect the faith of Muslims, even in the Al Quran Allah SWT says in surah al Kafirun verse 6 which means “For you is your religion and for me my religion” and in surah al-Qasas verse 55 mentions “For us our practice and for you your practice”, therefore there is no issue with regard to the construction of this Mazu statue that could affect the faith of the Muslim community,” he said.
Bung said he was made to understand that the developers of the project would build the Mazu statue tower without obstructing the position or view of the existing district mosque.
The Mazu statue project in Kudat was proposed about 20 years ago by the then Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat, and it was revisited by State Culture Tourism and Environment Minister Datuk Chirstina Liew recently, who hoped that the abandoned Mazu Statue project would become a reality in future.
Bung opined the construction of the tallest Mazu statue in the world could become another world-class tourist attraction in the northern district of Kudat, similiar to ‘The Tip Of Borneo’ – Simpang Mengayau.
“Any dispute in the past can be resolved amicably for the benefit of the people of Kudat and its economy,” he added.
Bung, who is also Kinabatangan Member of Parliament, is confident that the 33-meter-high Mazu Statue project will be a milestone for Kudat, thus becoming an icon of the lonely district, as well as the centre of attraction for tourists, especially from abroad, and ultimately, Kudat will thrive.
“In China, millions of tourists come to the mainland just to see and savour the majestic beauty of the Quan Yin statue, so it is not impossible Sabah will also enjoy a large number of tourist arrivals from abroad every year once the Mazu Statue in Kudat is in place, and from a positive point of view, of course this will give economic returns to the state where one of our sources of income is through the tourism sector,” he said.
In this regard, Bung hoped the Sabah government gives due consideration to this project, and put aside narrow sentiments that might frustrate the progress and the aspirations of Sabah Maju Jaya concept.