By Chew Lip Song
PAS MP Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh is standing by his earlier claim that the Christian Bible has been distorted and refuses to apologise.
The Pasir Puteh lawmaker however is willing to have a harmonious religious dialogue on the matter, Malaysiakini reported.
“There is no need to apologise. Why should I?
“I don’t want to comment, what I said is right. Why should I apologise?” he was quoted as saying in the portal.
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 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.
On Wednesday, Zawawi had during a debate in the Dewan Rakyat had said that all religion forbade the consumption of alcohol. When pointed out that the Christian faith did not, Zawawi responded that before the Bible was “distorted”, alcohol was banned.
The PAS MP said his claims was based on the scholarly works of Christian priests.
Later on Thursday, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii cited standing orders in demanding a retraction from Zawawi, but deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon asked him to write in his complaint.
Besides Dr Yii, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) had also demanded that Zawawi apologise for the “direct insult”.
ACS chairperson Archbishop Simon Poh said the PAS lawmaker’s remarks were insulting, and against the spirit of religious freedom enshrined in the Federal Constitution.