15 August 2015
I refer to the Chief Minister’s assurance that Christians in Sarawak can practise their religion without any hindrance and they are free to use the word Allah in their Bible as long as he is the Chief Minister [Borneo Post 14 August 2015]. Whilst I applaud him for his magnaminity, the fundamental truth is that the Federal Constitution guarantees Sarawakian Christians our rights to practise our religion and use the word Allah, regardless of who the Chief Minister is. That is the law.
The fact that the Chief Minister acknowledges that there is a problem of religious discrimination in West Malaysia should prompt him to address his mind to the source of the problem. It is the BN government to whom he is affiliated and pledged full support that has allowed this problem to arise and persist by turning a blind eye to the religious bigots who spew their hateful comments and prejudice, justifying their actions by claiming racial supremacy.
It was the BN Home Minister that started the Allah issue by banning the use of the word in the Herald, and then appealing the High Court’s decision favouring the Catholic Church. The Federal Court has ruled against the Church and the Chief Minister should be aware that the Court’s ruling can be used by extremists as a precedent against us in Sarawak at any time. I have said many times before – leaders come and go, but legal precedents are here to stay. It was the extremists in the BN government that caused this shameful episode and the BN Chief Minister is using this to garner support for himself in Sarawak – what twisted irony.
Another matter that I have brought up before is the fact that the Chief Minister does not have any power over JAIS and JAKIM in Sarawak, JAIS being answerable to the Agung and JAKIM to the Prime Minister. In a statement I made in July last year, I said the following:
“… I wish to seek clarification from the Chief Minister as to whether JAIS and JAKIM in Sarawak need to seek his approval for any action they may wish to take which may infringe on the rights of non-Muslims in Sarawak. If the Agong as head of Islam in Sarawak decrees that Christians are prohibited from using certain words, whose words would prevail, the Chief Minister’s or the Agong’s? At the same time, I would like the Sarawak Majlis Islam, JAIS and JAKIM heads to make a stand on this issue. Will they back up the Chief Minister’s statement that Christians are free to use the word ‘Allah’ in Sarawak? Will they agree to leave us to read our Al Kitab in peace?”
Up until today, I have had no response from the Chief Minister, JAIS and JAKIM.
The BN Chief Minister offers himself as a shield for Sarawakians against the tyranny of the BN extremists in West Malaysia. If he can see that his BN counterparts in West Malaysia have no respect for our rights, he should distance himself from these people instead of declaring full support for them. Worse still, he is taking advantage of the situation by playing on our fears. There is a better solution – Sarawakians must vote out the BN government that is the cause of our woes. The BN government is a cancer that must be excised so that we can enjoy our guaranteed religious freedom as envisaged by our forefathers. Let us eliminate the source of our problems instead of applying a prophylactic in the form of this Chief Minister. We need a permanent cure, not temporary first aid. BN must go.
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan