Press Statement: Upko will object to any plans for an “anti-evangelicalism law”.

KOTA KINABALU: Upko will object to any plan for an “anti-evangelicalism law” to be introduced in the country.

Upko Religious and Racial Harmony Bureau co-chairmen, Haji Suip Saniman and Sualim Gopog said CEO of Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), Azril Mohd Amin was over reacting when making the suggestion.

“In fact, such call will only dent the harmonious religious tolerance in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Sualim.

Azril’s suggestion to outlaw Christian evangelicalism was of no help to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, he said.

“Perhaps, the Prime Minister need to step in so that to minimise whatever damage done by the CEO of Centhra,” said Sualim.

Meanwhile, Suip said that religious harmony in Sabah is intact.

“Any kind of religious event so long as it is part of worships then it has to be held. This is in line with the Federal constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.

“This also ensure respect amongst religions in the country,” he said.

Suip said it was a sad day for Malaysia that such a proposal could emerge in spite of the Government’s hardwork to promote the spirit of 1Malaysia among the country’s plural population.

In this respect, Suip and Sualim fully support the statement by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed who disagreed with Azril.

The solution is for Muslims and Christians to have peaceful dialogue and establish a faith protocol based on individual choice,” said Nur Jazlan.

He argued that past attempts to ban religious sects have proven to be futile with the clearest example being Putrajaya’s ban on the Shiah school of Islam in Malaysia.

“Shiah is banned in Malaysia but does that reduce the number of believers that practise Shiah?” he asked.

It was reported that Azril had claimed evangelicalism, which he described as having “exhibited new religious tendencies towards positivism, unfettered freedom and a tendency to uncontrolled openness”, was seriously threatening Malaysia’s religious harmony.

Evangelism in the Christian context is an activity that broadly refers to spreading its gospel.

Evangelicalism, on the other hand, is a movement born from the Protestant school with a specific core belief that is said to be different from mainstream Protestanism; one of them being the belief in “personal conversion.”

The call for an anti-evangelical law follows claims by conservative Muslim figures that some Christian groups were conspiring to “Christianise” Muslim-majority Malaysia which restricts propagation of any faith other than Islam to Muslims.

Just a few weeks ago the same individuals claimed that a plan by an evangelical Christian group to hold a “Jerusalem Jubilee” event in Melaka to be proof of a modern-day crusade.

Later the Jerusalem Jubilee organiser cancelled the four-day event after it was blocked by the police.

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