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Wednesday, 24 February 2016


By Melati A. Jalil

Putrajaya today unveiled new members of the Committee to Promote Understanding and Harmony among Religious Adherents (JKMPKA) for the 2016-2017 session.
Its 32 members were announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his office in Putrajaya and with 29 present to receive their letters of appointment today.

The committee’s new chairman is Datuk Azman Amin Hassan, the former director-general of the Malaysian National Unity and Integration Department (JPNIN), and the deputy chairman is Rev Dr Hermen Shastri, general-secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM).

Among the main committee members are Tan Sri Datuk Seri Simon Sipaun, the founding chairman of the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) and a former Malaysian Human Rights commissioner; 

Datuk Seri Jit Heng, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST); Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok, Archbishop of Southeast Asia’s Anglican Church; Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong, head of the History, Heritage and Social Cluster of National Professor Council; and Datuk John Sikayun, former Sabah Law Association head.

Others are Datuk Mohan Shanmugam, president of Malaysia Hindu Sangam; academics Associate Professor Madeline Berma and Associate Professor Mohamed Md Yusoff; Negara-Ku steering committee chairman Zaid Kamaruddin; Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) president Mohammad Raimi Abd Rahim; former MCCBCHST president Sardar Jagir Singh; MCCBCHST office-bearer Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow; and Tan Kong Beng, executive secretary of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).

Najib, at the ceremony to hand out the appointment letters, said efforts to strengthen Malaysia's multi-faith and multi-racial society should be “formalised and institutionalised”.

"It has to be a concerted effort, a well-planned coordinated effort for us to strengthen national unity, or national integration. We may have national harmony but we must work towards an ideal (situation) that is a true sense of national unity.
“This (committee) is the mechanism to find solutions, there are solutions and we must find solutions that are fair and just,” he said.

He said the process of nation building should continue even though Malaysia had managed to overcome challenges after independence in 1957.

“This process should not have an end because to build a harmonious nation would take a very long time.”

He said Malaysians also should find core values that cut across all faiths and communities.

“Some of the core values that we should  try to identify is that we should conduct ourselves as Malaysians in a moderate way – moderation, mutual respect and working together, the spirit of give and take, wanting to find solution, not to create problems.
“These are some of the core values as Malaysians and we should adhere to the core values.”

Najib said Malaysians should also refer to the Federal Constitution as a guide to binding people together with “respect, belonging and togetherness”.

He urged the committee's new members to fulfil their roles in working for a peaceful and harmonious Malaysia.

“There will be problems, there will be challenges because we are living  in a complex society but with a positive attitude, I'm confident that as Malaysians we will continue to live in peace and harmony.

“I’m counting on you to play your part to achieve and cherish these goals.” – February 24, 2016.

Published: 24 February 2016

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