Monday, January 27, 2014

Sarawak BN warns of fallout from Najib’s stand on use of Allah

BY DESMOND DAVIDSON
JANUARY 26, 2014
Sarawak People's Democratic Party Youth wing leader James Guang said most Christians in Sarawak would not support Barisan Nasional if state election were held today. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 26, 2014. Sarawak People's Democratic Party Youth wing leader James Guang said most Christians in Sarawak would not support Barisan Nasional if state election were held today. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 26, 2014.The prime minister may have sounded the death knell for Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sarawak with his stand on the Allah controversy and the 10-point solution, warned a component party in the ruling coalition.
Charging that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “spineless” stand on the 10-point solution had rendered it worthless, Sarawak People's Democratic Party (SPDP) Youth wing leader James Guang said the BN would lose the state election if it were held today.
“Christians in Sarawak will teach Najib a lesson,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
“They just can’t wait to teach the BN, and in particular Najib, a lesson,” Guang added.
“I think most people in Sarawak that I know, or those around me, just want the state election to be conducted as soon as possible.
The prime minister had said on Friday that while the 10-point solution allowing for the use of "Allah" in Bibles is valid for Sabah and Sarawak, its use in any other state would depend on the state's respective religious enactments, like that of Selangor.
The Selangor Islamic Religious Department had raided The Bible Society of Malaysia’s premises in Petaling Jaya on January 2 and seized over 300 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban with the word Allah, an action that broke several agreements in the 10-point solution.
Guang pointed out that the 10-point solution – which was thrashed out in 2011 just before the state election – allowed Christians in Sabah and Sarawak to use the word Allah unhindered in their prayers as well as to use Bibles containing the word.
The Sarawak BN won the state election that year and kept its two-thirds majority in the state assembly, even though it lost more seats to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat.
“He's a politician. Politicians will only know if they are worthy once they get the election result,” Guang said.
He added that in Miri, where he lives, support for the opposition has increased due to Umno's role in the Allah issue and the prime minister's silence and failure to address the issue.
“The opposition has forged ahead. The BN will definitely lose (if the election is held today),” he said.
“I've not seen people react like this before, but it sure would be an interesting election.
“I bet the Dayak majority seats will go, like the Chinese seats in the last general election.”
The Sarawak state election is not due until 2016.
To illustrate Najib’s dwindling popularity among Sarawakians, Guang drew a comparison between the attendance of the ordination of Richard Ng as the Catholic Church’s new bishop for Miri yesterday and the prime minister's many visits to Miri over the years.
“He (Najib) never had so many people attending his function like what Ng had.”
Guang estimated more than 5,000 Catholics packed the Miri indoor stadium to witness the ordination.
Among them were former Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Tan Sri Peter Chin and Sarawak Assistant Minister for Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
Lee is also the assemblyman for Senadin in Miri.
“No Najib function matched that, even with free meals thrown in,” said Guang.
A Sarawakian working for a non-governmental organisation in Selangor, Philip Tero, dismissed the 10-point solution as “a tool only for political survival”.
“It was dead when it was signed. There is no real long-term essence to it at the rate events are going.”
Meanwhile, Sabah Council of Churches president Bishop Datuk Dr Thomas Tsen said the prime minister's announcement on the "variation" to the 10-point solution was confusing him.
“It is confusing to me. To what I understand, the 10-point solution when it was announced (in 2011) has no restrictions for Christians from Sarawak and Sabah anywhere in the country." – January 26, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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