KUALA LUMPUR: Malay rights group Perkasa and the Christians For Peace and Harmony Malaysia (CPHM) movement met here Saturday in a surprise development to work for religious harmony in the country.
During a press conference after their closed-door meeting at a hotel here, leaders from both organisations said they focused on achieving religious peace.
Pointing out that Malaysia's multiracial community was a "test bed" for religious harmony, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali stressed that no one should ever use religion for political gain.
"It is time for people to stop politicising religion because it is harming our country.
"We have learnt and understood things, and times have changed for the better," he added.
He said now that they were familiar with other religious groups and what they did, it would be easier.
"As the saying goes, 'tak tahu, tak cinta' (don't know, can't love)... now we know and now we can embrace," he said.
Ibrahim added that Perkasa and CPHM have also agreed to hold joint activities in the near future where members from all religious groups would gather and spend time together.
"During this time, we can eat together, have recreational activities and even intellectual discourse," he said.
"All we need to do is lead by example and people will follow. Before we know it, things will be better and we will achieve the actual 1Malaysia."
CPHM head Rev Wong Kim Kong said misconceptions and miscommunication often led to religious conflict.
"Through this meeting, we have agreed that if the need ever arises, we will consult one another and communicate on the best way around it.
"The focus is to fix the situation and not make it worse, and today, we have figured that it is something we can do," he said.
He added that conflict often arose because of the lack of trust.
"If one is not able to trust any other religious group, then we cannot sit together.
"This morning demonstrated very conspicuously that we can sit together and that mutual trust and confidence is there among us," he said.
He added that the meeting was not just a beginning but also the future to build a better Malaysia.