BUKIT MERTAJAM: Barisan Nasional will ensure that the people's right to practise their religion continues to be upheld for as long as it remains in power, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
"Although there are many who practise Islam in Malaysia and the Federal Constitution declares that Islam is the religion of the federation, the position of other religions is still secure," he said during his visit to the Wat Rajaphojong Thai Buddhist temple in Jalan Ara Kuda, Teluk Wang, yesterday.
Muhyiddin said he did not feel any "change in faith" when he visited the temple. "I didn't think that my faith would be affected when I came visiting, or that I would easily turn into a Christian after seeing a church in the village.
"If I were such a person, then my faith is not strong," he said, adding that people should respect those belonging to other religions.
He made the remarks in reference to the protest by about 50 people outside a church in Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya, on April 19 demanding that a cross be brought down, claiming that it challenged Islam.
Muhyiddin and several Barisan leaders later met members of the Indian community at the Akira basketball court in Jalan Tenggiri, Seberang Jaya.
He urged them to earn a side income to face the rising cost of living. "The increase in the prices of products does not only happen in Malaysia. It happens in other countries, too," he said, adding that he supported 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) because it helped to lessen the burden of the people.
Later, Muhyiddin told a crowd of over 1,500 people at Universiti Teknologi Mara that the Government placed emphasis on the country's education system.
"The Education Ministry has been allocated RM43bil (S$16 billion) for this year, and RM39bil from the amount will be used for operating costs, such as salaries of teachers and lecturers. The total amount takes up 21 per cent of the national budget.
"This proves the Government's commitment towards developing an effective education system and a better future generation," he said before opening the university's three-storey library.
Also present were Penang Umno chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman, Penang Education Department director Osman Hussain and representatives from the education industry.