In the 16-31st December 2012 edition of Buletin Mutiara, it was stated that the Penang State Government under Pakatan Rakyat control had increased the allocation to the Hal Ehwal Agama Islam department by 300% compared to 2008.
In the graph provided in the freely distributed state bulletin, the following breakdown in allocation was provided:
- 2008 – RM 25.59 million;
- 2009 – RM 35.78 million;
- 2010 – RM 37.85 million;
- 2011 – RM 63.21 million;
- 2012 – RM 64.03 million.
This increased in allocation has come under fire by the state Barisan Nasional opposition chairperson Teng Chang Yeow.
Penang’s state exco member for Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Abdul Malik Abdul Kasim has hit back in the bulletin by accusing the state Barisan Nasional chairperson as being racist, treasonous, anti-Malay, and anti-Islamic.
Abdul Malik further emphasises his point by stating that the previous state government under Koh Tsu Koon had never approved budgetary allocations of this nature before.
This is by no means a view only shared by the Islamic Affairs head. Lim Guan Eng himself reportedly said that Teng’s comment about Penang being Islamised was to imply that Lim was being anti-non-Muslim, completely ignoring the matter that the state government is further entrenching religious interference into government affairs, and that this issue has nearly nothing to do with race as it is with fairness.
We at Malaysian Atheists would like to point out that a budgetary allocation based upon religion has no bearing upon race, as religion is a belief system while race is based upon delineation based upon hereditary conditions. Islam has as much qualifications to the claims of racial status as Christianity or atheism.
Accusations of treason have as much legal force to the matter as it being treasonous to disagree as we do to only allocating RM 1.5 million to Perbadanan Pembangunan Wanita Pulau Pinang that seeks to promote gender equality. Surely an increased in investments that empower women would be more fruitful than propping up a religious institution that is essentially anti-equality at its core?
If such justifications can be made for the support of a religious institution, and the inordinate amount of investment allowed for such a venture, surely other religious groups can lay claim to similar allocations of the state budget as well. We at Malaysian Atheists would gladly meet with any government official to discuss potential state funding and a State Non-Religious Believers Affairs body to handle discrimination and persecution of atheists and other non-believers in the state.
Otherwise, we too say that the state government is being a racist, treasonous, anti-non-Malay, and anti-every-belief-other-than-Islam under the same rules of logic they have chosen to apply to their opponents.