Kuala Lumpur - "The Holy See and Malaysia can work together for peaceful coexistence": said Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, greeting outgoing Vatican ambassador to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino. Archbishop Marino was the first Apostolic Nuncio in Malaysia, where he spent a seven-year term. As Agenzia Fides learns, Minister Abdullah said that Malaysia and the Holy See could organise roundtable discussions and interfaith dialogues in the future. This relation, he explained, "is not limiting the discussion on government-to-government relations but also brings in civil society and religious groups. This is the kind of togetherness we need to uphold and promote", he said.
Peaceful coexistence and harmonious relations among the Malaysian people are guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, the Minister recalled, "but some people are misinterpreting this some", he said. Saifuddin said the Constitution’s fundamentals are strong and "give sufficient space for Malaysians of different faiths to live and work together".
Archbishop Marino, thanking the Malaysian authorities, confirmed that the Holy See will continue to collaborate with Malaysia in areas of mutual interest. The people of Malaysia, the Archbishop hopes "should preserve and protect the peaceful coexistence where other religions have the right to worship". Archbishop Marino said that "he will remember the diversity of Malaysia, which in itself represents a great wealth, unique for this nation", reporting the hope of Pope Francis who "has invited Christians not to transform religion into ideology", and to promote the "culture of encounter".
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious country. The population is made up of almost 32 million people, over 60% Muslim Malay ethnic group. Catholics represent 4% of the population. >>