Saifuddin said that it is sufficient that the Federal Constitution already plainly states Islam as the religion of the federation.
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 —
“I’m a little concerned when it comes to trying to define Islam in the constitution to being very specific like Sunni, and not being all encompassing,”
Saifuddin told reporters today after a human rights discussion organised by GMM and Proham. “I’d like to say we don’t really have to do that. The constitution is clear enough by stating very profoundly that Islam is the religion of the federation,” added the former Umno supreme council member.
Saifuddin also told The Malay Mail Online separately that there was no need for Umno to amend its constitution to define Islam as the Sunni branch, as announced by party president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the weekend. “To a certain extent, we have exaggerated the severity of the Syiah issue, to the extent that some of us are demonising Syiah and Syiah followers,” he said.
“Umno has fought for Islam. I really don’t think we need to go that far. I don’t believe in this holier-than-thou approach,” added the former Temerloh MP. Saifuddin pointed out that then prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, did not try to be more Islamic than PAS during the 1980s when the Islamist opposition party was gaining strength. “We have done quite a bit, but if we need to do more, strengthen Islamic education, strengthen the institution of zakat (tithes) and play a greater role among Muslim nations,” he said. “I do not think it’s necessary for us to take that path where we try to out-Islam PAS.
What Umno should be doing now is championing interfaith dialogues. The Cabinet looks like an Umno Cabinet. There is no Chinese representation,” he added.
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasoori said Iran had recommended to Malaysia at the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review to combat religious discrimination.
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, secretary-general of human rights watchdog Proham, said at the same press conference that Iran had recommended to Malaysia at the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on October 24 to combat religious discrimination, and to protect religious minorities.
Iran is a Syiah-majority Middle Eastern nation, one of the few countries that are inhabited by Syiahs, who make up the second largest denomination in Islam after Sunnis, but they comprise only about 15 per cent of Muslims worldwide.
“From a human rights perspective, one has to allow some leeway of freedom for religious minorities, even within Islam,” said Denison. “In the constitution, there is the right to practise your faith. Religion is important in the UPR,” he added.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/saifuddin-no-need-to-redefine-islam-in-constitution#sthash.XAg5jP49.dpuf