Stop manipulating religious issues during parliamentary debates to pursue political interests – Bung



KUALA LUMPUR: Commencing the introduction to the debate on the 2024 budget in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, Kinabatangan member of Parliament Datuk Seri Panglima Bung Moktar Radin sternly criticised the behaviour of certain Parliament members from both the opposition and government factions who cunningly exploited religious and racial sentiments to pursue political interests during their debate.

The MP from Sabah, with a moderate stance, firmly asserted that this prevailing culture must be put to an end.

Bung said that the assemblage of 222 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat symbolises approximately 36 million citizens of Malaysia hailing from diverse ethnicities and faiths.

In light of this, he emphasised the importance of refraining from engaging in contentious discussions that may incite extreme reactions, particularly when pertaining to sensitive subjects of religious and racial issues.

During the debate, he said that “we are the focal point and have garnered the attention of not only Malaysians but also the global community”.

This serves as an exemplary model for all parties involved, as any actions, discussions, or debates that broach sensitive subjects, particularly those pertaining to religion, possess the potential to impact racial harmony, Bung said during the debate.

Therefore, Bung, who is Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said such matters should be sidestepped during the course of the debate.

He further emphasised the importance of avoiding the act of labelling others as infidels in speech. Ideally, members of Parliament should engage in debates with caution, ensuring that they do not inflict emotional harm upon others.

“In the realm of Islam, although my knowledge may still be somewhat deficient, it is elucidated in Surah Al Kafirun of the Qur’an that “for you is your religion and for me is my religion.”

“As devout Muslims, we are encouraged to demonstrate respect for the beliefs of others. Consequently, it is imperative to desist from engaging in debates that have the potential to fragment racial concordance,” underscored Bung.

When met after the debate, Bung, who also serves as the Chairman of the Sabah UMNO Liaison Committee, expounded, “Having achieved independence for 66 years, we have been bestowed with the freedom to reside in a democratic nation, unrestricted in our mobility, and at liberty to practice our respective faiths.”

“Doesn’t this imply that we are also at liberty to partake in activities that possess the capacity to impact the harmony and cohesion that have been nurtured over the course of six decades?

“Have we not learned enough from the tragedy of May 13, 1969, the incident of racial riots that should have taught us a lot about the meaning of unity and should serve as a lesson to avoid the country from chaos and destruction due to disputes among us, Malaysians?” added Bung.

Bung said that in a multi-racial and religious country like Malaysia, tolerance should be prioritised instead of being concerned about the future of party politics or wanting to be a hero for fear of losing the election.

“That is why, after the 15th general election (GE), we will form a unity government as mandated by the Yang Dipertuan Agong with the hope that the concept of unity in a country of various religions and races can be united to develop our beloved country,” he said.

If Malaysians persist in remaining divided and if leaders neglect to establish a commendable precedent for the populace, the attainment of harmony and peace shall prove unattainable, thereby impeding endeavours to perpetuate the advancement of development and the nation’s economy, Bung said.

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