Pas Mp Won T Apologise Over Bible Remarks Willing To Have Dialogue




Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh has declined to apologise for saying the Christian Bible was distorted (dipesong), stating that they had no right to be offended
However, Zawawi said he was willing to have a harmonious dialogue on the matter
This came after the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) demanded an apology over the "direct insult" to the Christian holy text
When contacted, Zawawi said there was no need for him to apologise as he was right
"There is no need to apologise. Why should I?" he told Malaysiakini
"I don't want to comment, what I said is right. Why should I apologise?" he said
When told that Christians took offence to his remarks, Zawawi said they have no right to feel that way
"They have no right to be offended. What I said was not an accusation, but a fact," he added
Zawawi had made the offending remarks in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday while debating the Road Transport Act amendments bill - which seeks to increase punishment for drink driving
In his speech, he claimed that all religions forbade the consumption of alcohol
Ngeh Koo HamWhen Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham, a Christian, corrected him and said it was intoxication that was wrong, Zawawi doubled down and said in Christianity, before the Bible was "distorted", alcohol was not allowed
"I ask Beruas to really study religious facts, including in Christianity, that this (prohibition of alcohol) was a fact in the Bible before it was distorted or changed," he had said
The PAS MP, who studies comparative religion, claimed to have based his remarks on the scholarly works of Christian priests
Later on Thursday, Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii cited standing orders in demanding a retraction from Zawawi, but deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon asked him to write in his complaint
ACS chairperson Archbishop Simon Poh in a statement yesterday said the PAS lawmaker's remarks were insulting, and against the spirit of religious freedom enshrined in the Federal Constitution
"ACS considers such statements from the Pasir Puteh MP as inflammatory and disrespectful to all people of goodwill who seek to live in harmony in Sarawak and Malaysia
"ACS respects the right of every person to his or her opinion. When this becomes an insult against religion, ACS strongly rejects such form of religious imposition from the Pasir Puteh MP on Christianity and other religions," Poh said
He added that Zawawi should retract his remarks and apologise
Zawawi said that he was ready to have a harmonious dialogue and that it should be done with Christian MPs in Parliament as this incident occurred in the Dewan Rakyat
He said the dialogue could be aired live through mass media or TV
The consumption of wine in Christianity is well documented in the New Testament, and Jesus was said to have turned water into wine. Wine is also widely used in communion rituals
However, overindulgence that led to drunkenness was viewed as either a sin or a vice
It was only later during the 19th century that some Protestant denominations took the view that consumption of alcohol should either be avoided or prohibited entirely. - Mkini

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