Uphold unity and steer clear of 3R issues, Malaysians advised

JOHOR BARU: Malaysians have been urged to uphold unity and avoid playing up 3R (race, religion and royalty) issues.

In a joint statement, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar and Johor Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said recent incidents had affected the nation's harmony.

"It started with the word 'Allah' printed on socks, followed by allegations of the word found on the sole of a shoe, and then the latest incident of prayer mats that were mistaken for door mats.

"We view such matters seriously as (they touch on) the sensitivity of Muslims. We are concerned as it has affected the harmony between people of various backgrounds in the country," the statement issued Tuesday (April 16) read.

They added that His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, said in his royal address at the opening of Parliament on Feb 26 that the people should uphold unity and refrain from playing up 3R issues.

"In this spirit, the government has taken several steps to cool the temperature, including efforts by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to investigate those involved in the incidents.

"The police have also taken the necessary action against those involved and the government will not compromise if the matter were to happen again in the future," they said.

In Johor, a committee was formed recently to ensure that goods for sale do not offend religious sensitivities.

All parties including trade associations and chambers of commerce should give their cooperation to ensure no repeat of the incidents, the statement read.

They added that continuous monitoring and awareness campaigns by Federal and state governments should also be carried out to remind the people to respect each other's differences.

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