By Teresa Kok
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--I read with regret the statement by Islamic Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad that his department is planning to draft laws to curb the propagation of non-Islamic religions in the Federal Territories.

The Federal Constitution is clear to all, and Idris Ahmad does not have to create such laws in Federal Territories as this would cause unnecessary suspicion and anxiety between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Article 11 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia states that every individual has the right to profess, practice and preach his/her religion or belief. However, Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution also prohibits the propagation of non-Islamic religions to Muslims. The Federal Constitution as the highest law of the nation is adequate to handle this matter, without having to have any additional laws.

As cabinet minister, Idris Ahmad should do his best during the current crisis to encourage people of different faiths to help each other, particularly the poor and marginalised throughout the country, including Federal Territories. He should instead project the teaching of kindness and charity in Islam to all Malaysians.

I urge Idris Ahmad and the cabinet led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri to set the priority right during the Covid-19 pandemic, and not to create any unnecessary tension that would fracture the harmonious existence of our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.
The reality in Federal Territories is that people are striving hard to rebuild their lives in this era of living with the pandemic. Many places of worship have been closed due to lockdowns since March last year. This is one of the important matters that should be dealt with, wisely.

All religions teach us to be tolerant and understanding of each other. The spirit of #kitajagakita has shown that working together and helping one another is the true nature of Malaysians regardless of race and religion.