Bahai News - Baha'is celebrate 50 years of progress in Malaysia, NEW STRAITS
Baha'is celebrate 50 years of progress in Malaysia, NEW
Source: Associated Press
Publication date: 2000-11-28
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November 28, 2000
NEW STRAITS TIMES-MANAGEMENT TIMES
Baha'is celebrate 50 years of progress in Malaysia, NEW STRAITS
KUALA LUMPUR, Mon.-It was a celebration that gave expression to the
movement's faith, philosophy and contribution to global peace and
A dinner last night at the Grand Seasons Hotel in Jalan Pahang
to mark 50 years of Baha'is in the country drew well-wishers of all
races and faiths.
Speeches, song and dance-all had the theme of oneness and unity
Deputy Minister of National Unity and Social Development Dr Tiki
Lafe, as guest-of-honor, recognized the movement's contribution to
multi-religious and multi-ethnic ties in the country.
Recognition had come by way of legal sanction of the faith's
marriage ceremony, gazetted burial grounds and granting of
unrecorded leave for a number of holy days in the Baha'i calendar.
Although Islam is the official religion, there is freedom of
worship for people of other faiths. That is the uniqueness of
Malaysia which, however, could not be taken for granted.
''The nation's founding fathers had a vision of unity in
diversity, unity of nation above all else,'' said Tiki, quoting the
eye-opening figure of 150 ethnic groups in the country, each with
its distinct dialect and flavor.
''Yet, we are under one King and government and credit must go
to all of us for keeping ourselves together,'' he added to applause
from the 600 people present.
Dr John Fozdar of Kuching provided the link with the movement's
initiator in the country. It was his father Dr K.M. Fozdar who
brought the movement to Singapore in 1950 and then spread it to the
Renowned cartoonist and artist, the late Leong Yan Kee of
Seremban or ``Yankee'' Leong as he was fondly called, was credited
with playing a crucial role in the spread of the faith in the
country and other parts of the region.
He recalled other pioneers-Leong Tat Chee, Dr Chellie Sundram
and Shirin Fozdar (his mother)-who had also passed on.
The movement's record speaks for itself. Created 157 years ago
by Baha'u'llah in Persia, it has worked to break barriers of
prejudice and collaborated with like-minded people to promote a
It revolves round the belief that the earth is but one country
and mankind its citizens.
Datuk Dr M. Singaravelu, chairman of the movement's National Spiritual
Assembly touched on international accreditation.
The United Nations has recognized the movement as an international
non-governmental organization and given it consultative status with the
UN Economic and Social Council and the UN Childrens Fund (Unicef).
It is working closely with other UN bodies and agencies such as
the World Health Organization and the UN Environmental Program
(UNEP) and the UN Development Fund for Women.
Locally, the movement is participating actively in social work
that includes the empowerment of women and the instilling of moral
values in the young.
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