RAUB – The Tourism Ministry fears that attempts of arson on several churches in the country may threaten its tourism industry’s growth.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen sad the religious tension could cause fear among foreign tourists of visiting Malaysia, hence affecting its economy.

“This is the communication era, so information travels fast…tourists will choose not to visit a country faced with conflicts, especially religious conflicts,” she told reporters after officiating at a Christmas and New Year celebration attended by about 150 Christians, here, Sunday.

Dr Ng said the church attacks were sending the wrong message to foreign tourists when Malaysia was always touted as a harmonious country despite its multiracial and multi-religious society.

However, she said, the ministry had not received information on the effects of the incidents on tourist arrivals in Malaysia.

“We are monitoring the developments through our offices overseas.”

Dr Ng who condemned the church attacks said the people should not be influenced by the actions of a few who were out to create chaos in the country.

She said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, which at all times wanted to safeguard peace and religious freedom in this country, would ensure the individuals involved would face appropriate action.

So far, seven churches with the latest in Miri, Sarawak as well as the church and guard post at Sekolah Menengah Convent in Taiping, Perak have been targeted.