GEORGE TOWN: Jun 22, 2008 By NIK KHUSAIRI IBRAHIM
Penang will allocate state funds fairly to all major religions to ensure no religion is discriminated against or marginalised, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.
He said the state government would treat all religions equally.
“We have also formed an inter-religious council called Majlis Silaturahim to promote goodwill and understanding among all religions,” he told newsmen after opening the National Maha Sanghika Dana 2008 at Penang International Sports Arena here on Sunday.
The event is organised annually by the Malaysian Buddhist Youth Foundation to provide a platform for devotees to do good deeds.
"All religions are equal according to Buddhist teaching,” he said. He also reiterated that Penang would not become an Islamic state. “Islam is the official religion of the country, but the freedom to worship other religions is enshrined in our Federal Constitution.
“Nobody can take away this freedom and this right must be enjoyed by all of us forever,” he added.
Lim noted that Buddhism, with 370 million followers, was the fourth largest religion in the world after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.
Earlier at another function, he said the state government was promoting the “Faith, Hope and Love” concept to restore lost trust, to give hope to future generations and to create a loving environment.
“We want to restore the lost trust among the people. Government that comes from the people should serve the people.
“We also want to give hope to the young generation that there is a future in Penang where there will be equal opportunity for all to benefit from the growing economy,” he said.
Lim also said there was a lack of “love” in the state.
“People who do not have the loving spirit will be selfish and uncivilised,” he said.
The state was keen on promoting the loving culture to create a cohesive and harmonious society, he said after flagging off a convoy of luxury cars participating in an overland trip to Bangkok.
The event was organised by the Lions Club of Bayan Baru.