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Published: Thursday February 16, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday May 24, 2013 MYT 11:14:04 PM

PM: Be aware of differences

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians should not be confused with what constituted cultural and religious beliefs, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Citing the kurta which he wore at the Thaipusam celebration in Batu Caves recently, the Prime Minister said some quarters questioned why he wore the traditional Indian attire.

“They are not aware that in India, millions of Muslims wear the kurta,” he said when addressing a gathering of religious leaders in conjunction with World Inter-Faith Harmony Week 2012 at his official residence Seri Perdana here yesterday.

Giving another example, he said Malaysian Chinese Muslim Asso­ciation (MACMA) president Datuk Mustapha Ma usually wears an attire with elements of Chinese culture.

“He is a seventh-generation Muslim. This is a question of culture and not faith.

“If we don’t understand issues like this, it could lead to suspicion and hatred among the races,” said Najib, adding that it was incumbent upon the committee tasked with inter-faith understanding to clarify such matters.

The Prime Minister said Malaysians appreciate the harmony and prosperity enjoyed in the countyr, made possible because of moderate policies that were in line with Islamic teachings.

Najib said the teachings of all faiths, in principle, promote moderation through conduct and words.

He said the World Inter-Faith Harmony Week sought to raise awareness and understanding between religions for universal peace and to drive the world to be progressive and prosperous.

“If there is a country which wants to showcase itself as a model of multiracial unity, I don’t think there is a country better than Malaysia,” said Najib.

The World Inter-Faith Harmony Week is the brainchild of King Abdullah II of Jordan and his son Ghazi Muhammad, who as his personal representative and adviser, mooted the idea at the 65th United Nations General Assembly in 2010.

Separately, after the Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting last night, Najib said the Government would consider extending the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) programme payment deadline on Mar 15 to ensure that all those who qualified received the RM500 cash aid.

He said the programme was well appreciated by those benefiting from the aid, with allowance given to unsuccessful applicants to appeal beyond the Mar 15 deadline.

On a separate matter, he said that Barisan’s Supreme Council did not discuss Women, Family and Community Develop­ment Minister Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil’s position amid the National Feedlot Corp­oration controversy.

On the upcoming Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally on Feb 26 to protest against the construction of Lynas Corpora­tion’s rare earth processing plant in Kuantan, Najib said it was their right to do so under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

He added that such a right extended to those supporting Government programmes.

He also dismissed claims that producers of three controlled items, namely flour, sugar and cooking oil, are required to use the 1Malaysia logo on packages for sale from this month to continue getting government subsidies.

“It is not political (1Malaysia) ... it is about Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Najib said that Persatuan Kontraktor Melayu Malaysia, Persatuan Bekas Anggota Kemas and Gabungan Wawasan Generasi Felda were made Barisan affiliates.

He said the three bodies were among 11 that applied to become Barisan affiliates with approval pending for the remaining applicants.

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