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Gerakan urges state authorities to withdraw Friday prayer closure Dominic Lau Hoe Chai: Malaysian society must maintain tolerance and respect for religious and cultural diversity

Press statement by

Gerakan Vice-President

Datuk Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai

16 February 2015

Gerakan Vice-President, Datuk Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai condemned the directive by Kota Baru Municipal Council to implement a two-hour closure for Friday prayer to all businesses including non-Muslim premises. He was disappointed with the out of tune directive and maintained that it is against the rights and interests of non-Muslims in the state.

Lau opined that the ill-considered directive would affect the economy and tourism of Kota Baru as the two-hour closure on every Friday coincidently falls within lunch hour, local businesses would suffer losses and indirectly hurting the state’s growth. He also added that the directive also gives no guarantee that the initial aim of regulating the Muslim community as intended by the Kota Baru Municipal Council would be achieved.

“While we respect the right for Muslims to perform their prayers on Friday, non-Muslim premises should not be subjected to the two-hour closure directive. As long as Muslim workers are allowed to leave for Friday prayer by their employers, there should not be a blanket mandatory closure for all businesses, it is hugely unfair and not pragmatic,” said Lau   

Lau also condemned similar directive employed earlier this year by the Terengganu state government. He reminded that Malaysian society must maintain its tolerance and respect for religious and cultural diversity. He called on related state authorities to consult with the public before introducing new directive or regulation while also urging both Terengganu state government and Kota Baru Municipal Council to withdraw the mandatory Friday prayer closure.