Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Religious Affairs says the Pakatan Harapan government under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has adopted a fundamental principle of governance and administration based on Islam’s concept of ‘mercy for all creations’.

He says the rapidly developing country with a population of 34 million is a popular centre for business, education tourism, and international meetings and conferences.

“Malaysians are known for their openness, warmth and hospitality. The country has been progressing well since its independence from Britain in 1957 and is now moving towards a new era.

“However, the presence of various ethnic and religious groups has caused irresponsible parties to ignite the fires of race and religion, causing concern among some quarters in the population who have been living harmoniously together for a long time,” he says.

He adds this surge of religious and racial division has resulted in the Malaysian community suffering from a trust deficit, hence, giving birth to Islamophobia and xenophobia.

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“The current government is seriously looking into this challenge and is committed to addressing the issue through a broad vision of “Malaysia Baru” or shared prosperity,” he says.

“Throughout Malaysia’s history, two factors are constant and have ensured the success of development policies. One is economic development and growth; the other is national unity and racial cohesiveness.”

He says the Malaysian government has taken the initiative to highlight the virtues and values of Islamic teachings and to emphasise a shared prosperity vision for the nation and country.

The aim is to promote Islam as a religion of peace and compassion to counter the negative perception of Islam.

Speaking of the concept ‘mercy for all creations’ he says with this Malaysia wishes to set an example to the world.

“Rahmatan Lil Alamin encompasses positive universal values, not specifically to benefit Muslims only. It means mercy to all mankind. Islam does not teach believers to hurt or oppress others.

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The concept is based on Maqasid Syariah known as Objectives of Life’s Principles, namely, the preservation of the religion, preservation of life, preservation of intellect, preservation of lineage and preservation of wealth.

He says the concept is approved by Malaysia’s Rulers’ Council and will be introduced at all levels of the various communities, to be applied in governance, administration and other aspects of life.

It is a policy to create a new image of Malaysia, in addition to promoting a model of shared prosperity and peaceful coexistence.

He says academics have discussed and written about the values of benevolence, kindness and mercy that Islam advocates.

“But what is new is that the Malaysian government is translating it into government policies and as the solution to contemporary challenges, such as Islamophobia and radicalism. -/TISG