World

Malaysia’s Kelantan demands
Islamic designs in Buddhist
building

A controversy is brewing over the proposal for the construction of a Buddhist building here after the PAS-led state government ruled that new buildings should include Islamic designs to reflect the state capital’s status as an Islamic city.

State Local Government, Culture, Arts and Tourism committee chairman Takiyuddin Hassan said developers must incorporate some Islamic elements in their plans or the proposals would be rejected.

“We will ensure development will be based on Islamic principles and features,” he told a press conference here.

He claimed the ruling was well-accepted by the majority of developers, including non-Muslim developers.

“I do not see it as an issue or something that could cause religious tension, as it only involves architecture and design,” he said.

“They have accepted the new ruling well.”

Takiyuddin was commenting on an appeal by the Kelantan Buddhist Association for the state government to approve its building, to be constructed with Chinese features at Jl. Sultan Zainal Abidin here.

It is understood that the association had been told that its building design should have dome-shaped motifs, which have created a controversy in the Chinese media.

In an immediate reaction, Kota Baru MCA division chief Tan Ken Ten slammed the directive, which he said was an infringement of the rights of non-Muslims in the state.

“The ruling is an extreme attempt to impose one’s beliefs into other people’s culture or religious beliefs,” Tan said.

“The PAS government must be mindful that Malaysia is a multi-cultural and multi-religious society that respects the differences of each community. It should appreciate this diversity which makes this country unique,” Tan added.

State MCA Youth chief Gan Han Chuan said the Kelantan government was showing disrespect towards the non-Muslims with its new policy.

“With the new directive, PAS is trying to create discord by destroying the harmonious relations between the communities that had been built by the Barisan Nasional over the years,” he added.

“One can only wonder what type of archaic policies PAS will introduce if Pakatan Rakyat manages to take over the Federal Government,” Gan said.

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