We recently uncovered an article published by the Today paper, a Singapore publication on a very surprising statement made by the PM. Strangely, this was not carried in the local Malaysian newspapers.
Has the local media boycotted this important statement made by the Prime Minister? Why else was something as important and sensitive as this not carried in the local media? Or was it too much against the grain of further enforcing Malaysia's "new" Islamic State status?
But this statement by the PM is a significant milestone for the nation and should be made known to the nation and made into policy. There are so many extremists in prominent government positions, and this clarion call for moderation and sensibility is something that needs to be heard by all. Perhaps it will breathe new hope into the hearts and minds of the non-Muslims of Malaysia.
But the question is, why was it never carried in the local media? To us, it is obvious that this was not something that was in line with the so called "mainstream" UMNO view.
UMNO leaders, Religious Departments, read this and understand it well, this is the voice of moderation. Heed in his footsteps and take the balanced and fair approach. People are entitled to make their own choices in what they believe - it is every individuals birthright!
Read on... Badawi's brief statement says a lot.
July 10, 2007
Allow Muslims to convert if they choose to: PM Abdullah
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said that those who want to leave Islam should be counselled by the religious authorities, and, if they still choose to convert, they should be allowed to do so.
Mr Abdullah made it clear later that he was making these comments in his personal capacity.
"Religious officials should be ready to listen to the problems of those people who want to leave the religion. They should not torture them but they should counsel them," said Mr Abdullah, speaking to reporters after opening an Islamic conference in Putrajaya.
Asked about the growing number of religious disputes dominating news headlines, the Prime Minister proposed that Muslims who want to convert to other faiths should be allowed to do so.
"This is not something that cannot be done. For those who don't want to be Muslims anymore, what can you do? If they want to leave the religion, what are you going to do? You might as well let them go."
Under Sharia or Islamic law in Malaysia, it is the duty of religious authorities to determine whether a Muslim can leave the religion or not.
Just last week, a 29-year-old Indian woman who wanted to renounce Islam was released from a rehabilitation centre run by the state's Islamic authorities. Ms Revathi Masoosai (picture), also known as Siti Fatimah, has said her mother was a Hindu and her father a Christian, but both subsequently converted to Islam, AFP reported. She told reporters she had been ill-treated while at the centre. She was separated from her Hindu husband and 18-month-old daughter for six months.
Ms Revathi had expected her bid to be a Hindu to be approved after her period of detention. — Channel NewsAsia