KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 : There is a need to consider suitable legislation to strengthen harmony and encourage Malaysians of all races to
foster inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, said National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) deputy chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
He said the proposed National Harmony Bill may be an instrument for such a purpose, but stressed on the need to embark on relentless efforts to promote mutual respect and understanding among the different ethnic and religious groups.
He commended the government’s move not to rush the bill through Parliament, and called for engagement with all parties including politicians from both sides, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious organisations to provide their feedback first.
“In fact what should be done is to refer the proposed bill to a Parliamentary Select Committee made up of government and opposition MPs to
scrutinise the Bill before it is tabled in Parliament for approval,” he said in a statement today.
On Jan 19, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nancy Shukri said the government would carefully study the proposed National Harmony Bill before tabling it in Parliament.
Lee said such legislation should also include recognising the legitimate rights of non-Muslims as provided for in the Federal Constitution, beside
accepting Islam as the official religion.
“Recognition and respect of the legitimate rights of all communities in addition to responsible Citizenship will also help to ensure harmony in our
multi-racial nation,” he said, adding that the implementation of the Act must be monitored and evaluated every five years to determine its effectiveness, relevance and usefulness.
Meanwhile, NUCC also called on all patriotic Malaysians irrespective of race and political affiliation not to incite racial animosity and religious hatred that would lead to tension and conflict which would undermine racial and religious harmony.
“We as responsible and peaceful citizens must do our part to ensure that our nation continues to remain peaceful and harmonious,” Lee said. – BERNAMA