Former diplomat John Tenewi Nuek finds minister Joseph Salang's rude dismissal of a rally by Christians in Kuching 'distressing'.
KUCHING: Sarawak PKR leaders have slammed federal minister Joseph Salang for his ‘blasphemous and seditious’ remarks on the rally organised by the Christians here.
Salang, who is deputy information, communication and culture minister, had described Wednesday’s rally in protest against the defacing of Bahasa Malaysia copies of bible as “peoples making fools of themselves.”
More than 2,500 Christians from various denominations gathered at the Christian Centre to pray for the release of 30,000 copies of the bible.
Nicholas Bawin, PKR’s director of election said that Salang, who is Julau MP, must explain his statement otherwise he could be commiting blasphemy to the Lord.
“It is seditious and we have asked our lawyers to look into the statement,” he said, pointing out that such a statement should not come from somebody of his stature.
“We are not making fool of ourselves. Nor do we make fool of our God. We are serious. We are God’s children.
“The Christians need to stand together to protect our rights. Nobody should make a fool of God. Nobody should say that Christians are fools. No way,” Bawin told a press conference here.
PKR vice president, John Tenewi Nuek, who was also present, regarded Salang’s statement as very distressing and sad.
“It is not only against the constitution, but is also a form of intimidation.
“There should not be any form of fear or suspicion, because if you have fear it will only generate more fear,” he said.
Tenewi said no one religion is better than the others.
“All good religions are supposed to preach co-existence between equals. We should adopt this policy.
“We may be different. You are a Chinese, I am a Bidayuh, and you are Malay. Be a good Malay, be a good Bidayuh and a good Chinese.
“To me this is one of the beauties of Malaysia, that we are a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country.
“This is our strength, it is our beauty. To me we should celebrate it, and furnish it instead of trying to suppress it,” said Tenewi, who is a former Malaysian ambassador.
Asked whether Salang should apologise to the Christian community, he said: “Salang is a Christian, I would leave it to him.”
Tenewi reminded people not to make statements that are against the sentiments of others.
“We have to very careful and be sensitive,” he added.