MCA president Liow Tiong Lai today rebuked suggestion to demolish Pulau Langkawi’s iconic eagle statue, stressing that such move must be stopped.
On Friday, Perak deputy mufti Zamri Hashim wrote in a local daily that Islam forbade full-bodied statues of living creatures such as humans or animals, and as such, the Langkawi eagle statue should be demolished.
“It’s just his personal view and we must remember that he is not even from Kedah.
“But to avoid ambiguity, it is best that the Kedah state government puts an end to any idea to demolish it,” Liow said on Monday.
He said any form of “Talibanisation” in Malaysia cannot be tolerated as moderation was the only option for the future of the country.
He said the federal government was committed to the practice of moderation and multi-culturalism.
The Transport Minister said Kedah was under Barisan Nasional rule, which advocated moderation and did not believe “in the Taliban way.”
He said that when PAS came to power in Terengganu in 1999, the first thing the then Menteri Besar Abdul Hadi Awang did was to demolish a replica of a turtle at a roundabout in Kuala Terengganu, using the same argument that it was akin to idol worshipping.
Likewise, he said when PAS took over Kelantan, the party changed Pantai Cinta Berahi (Beach of Passionate Love) to Pantai Cahaya Bulan (Moonlight Beach).
“Despite all the stringent rules in Kelantan, including gender segregation and summonses on non-Muslim traders of unisex salons and a watch dealer for putting up posters of models who don’t cover their heads, we all know PAS has no answer to the host of problems in Kelantan such as AIDs and drug abuses,” Liow said.
“The statue was symbolic of Langkawi as well as being a tourist attraction.
“Let us be more open about this – embrace that Malaysia is a multi-racial society and be inclusive about this.”
Langkawi Tourism Association president Zainuddin Kadir has already voiced out strongly against Zamri claim that the island’s iconic eagle statue was haram (forbidden by Islam), adding that the 12-metre high statue in Lang Square here had become a key tourist attraction for the past 20 years.
“It has become an icon for Langkawi for quite a long period, not as a place of worship or for activities that are contrary to Islam,” Bernama reported Zainuddin as saying.
Zainuddin, who represents 8,000 LTA members, said he had written a letter to Zamri requesting further explanation on the matter.
“I am still waiting for his answer and willing to have a dialogue with him if necessary,” he said.
Zainuddin also asked that the authorities take into consideration the welfare of the Langkawi community, most of whom depended on the tourism industry.
On Saturday, the Kedah Mufti’s office said that it would consult the state Fatwa Council on the matter.