Letter to the Editor/ Media Statement
Yayasan 1Malaysia proposes the establishment of a National Consultative Council on Religious Harmony— Majlis Perundingan Nasional tentang Keharmonian Ugama— which will deliberate on all critical issues in inter-faith relations in the country and suggest remedies for the consideration of the Cabinet and Parliament.
The Consultative Council should be chaired by the Prime Minister, Dato Sri Mohd Najib, and should include Ministers in charge of Religion and National Unity, Opposition leaders, representatives of the various religious communities, NGOs working towards religious harmony, and prominent personalities attempting to build bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The Council should not be too large, with perhaps a maximum of seventy members. It should meet behind closed doors and should work within a time frame. A Plan of Action should be formulated within six months of the launch of the Council.
The proposed Council can be modelled on the National Consultative Council of 1969, headed by our second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak, set up in the aftermath of the May 13th Incident, which played a major role in restoring inter-ethnic stability.
Yayasan 1Malaysia hopes that the Prime Minster will give serious consideration to this proposal. Nothing is more important at this stage than an effective channel of communication among the different religious communities which will attempt to assuage their fears and anxieties about the position on their religion in Malaysian society today. Through communication and interaction will emerge the solutions that will accommodate the interests and aspirations of the diverse communities that constitute our beloved nation.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
11 January 2010.