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'Stay united to face challenges to Islam'

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FAITH CHALLENGES: Certain segments playing religion card to cause instability, says DPM

KUANTAN: MUSLIMS in the country must remain united as they face faith challenges and issues surrounding Islam.

Describing issues confronting Islam and its followers as "a major challenge", Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Muslims in the country had always been respectful in defending the dignity of Islam. However, he added there were certain segments within the community who were keen on playing the religion card by raising issues sensitive to Muslims.

"We should realise that in our community there are various groups, from political bodies to political leaders, who thrive on politicising Islam.

"Such issues have threatened to cause disarray amongst Muslims and if no attempts are taken to address the matter, Muslims in the country could end up confused.

"It is a huge challenge for us -- although Malaysia practises the system of parliamentary democracy where its people are free to express their views, we should not touch on issues that can split and confuse Muslims," he said, adding that ulama should come forward and play a role in explaining the situation to Muslims.

He addressing the Al-Makmur mosque congregation, here after Friday prayers.

Muhyiddin said Muslims in the country should close ranks to safeguard the integrity of the religion, developing their community and promoting progress .

"Muslims will not be able to fulfil their religious obligations if they are weak. The country's leadership has always emphasised on helping Muslims in the country and protecting the sanctity of the Muslim faith.

"For example, we have managed to reduce poverty through the e-Kasih programme," he said, adding that other Muslim countries which lacked similar programmes, such as Sudan and Somalia, remained in poverty.

Later, at the Pahang state and Federal Level civil servants' gathering, Muhyiddin called on employees in the public sector to develop an improved "rapid response mechanism" to deal with public complaints.

The deputy prime minister said given Malaysia's changing demographics and fast-growing economy, the civil service needed to act quickly to counter weaknesses in government delivery.

"The profile of the average Malaysian has changed greatly, especially among the young.

"The people are more informed and aware of their rights. They expect a lot from their government and public servants and have various channels to vent their frustrations.

"Our response to them must be swift as failure to do so could potentially hurt the country."

At the same time, Muhyiddin lauded civil servants in turning Malaysia into one of the world's most competitive countries, citing the nation's highly placed position in global rankings such as the Foreign Direct Investment Index 2012.

He said government workers played a key role in driving foreign and local investments, by providing services and the environment needed for business and trade to thrive.

"The success story of Malaysia is the success story of the civil service."

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin performing Friday prayers at the Al-Makmur mosque in Kuantan yesterday. On his right is Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob. Pic by Azmaidi Abidin


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