MCCBCHST releases booklet to raise awareness of religious rights

June 20th, 2007 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Booklet to raise awareness of religious rights
Giam Say Khoon

KUALA LUMPUR (June 19, 2007): The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) today launched a booklet to raise public awareness on religious rights.

Its deputy president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said the booklet, entitled Unity Threatened by Continuing Infringements of Religious Freedom, highlighted the personal tragedies of various ordinary Malaysians.

At a press conference today, Vaithilingam said the council had sent a memorandum to the government through the National Unity Advisory Panel in October 2005, calling for each individual's freedom of religion under the constitution to be protected.

"In the memorandum, we had set out all these problems and urged the government to take legislative reforms to alleviate these concerns. Until today, no such reforms have been made," he said.

It was because of this that the council decided to produce the booklet, and "to encourage debate so we can all jointly seek solutions to these problems", he said.

The public can get a copy of the booklet, which includes the memorandum, at the council's headquarters at the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields and from the council's member associations. He said the booklet will also be sent to all members of parliament.

The council, All Women's Action Society, Sisters in Islam, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Women's Centre for Change and Women's Development Centre also initiated a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka today evening.

Vaithilingam said the vigil was held in solidarity with M. Revathi, who was born to Indian Muslim parents and was sent to a religious rehabilitation centre after she applied to the syariah court to leave Islam. She has professed to be Hindu and married Suresh Veerappan under Hindu rites and they have a 15-month-old daughter.

"The venue of the vigil was Dataran Merdeka, where 50 years ago our independence from colonial rule was proclaimed. It was intentionally chosen to give Revathi some hope that she too will have freedom soon," he said.


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