Association of Churches in Sarawak alarmed by Maszlee’s ‘medan dakwah’ stand

Dr Maszlee Malik

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KUCHING, Dec 18: Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) wants the federal government to stop using public servants or teachers to carry out any form of Islamisation in Sabah and Sarawak.

It also urged Putrajaya to honour their promises and undertakings of religious freedom and Borneanisation of the public service as safeguarded in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962 and the Federal Constitution.

At the same time, ACS expressed deep concern over Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s statement of making Sarawak and Sabah the Islamic propagation fields (medan dakwah) of Ustaz and Ustazah.

ACS expressed the view that Maszlee’s statement was not in line with the spirit of MA63, IGC Report and the Sarawak Constitution.

“The statement by the Education Minister to make Sabah and Sarawak a battlefield for the propagation of Islam is not in the spirit of the MA63 and appears to be sanctioning Islamic religious teachers from Peninsular Malaysia to promote Islamisation and propagation to local students in non-religious schools in Sabah and Sarawak.

“If the West Malaysian teachers were to make Sabah and Sarawak their ‘medan dakwah’, it could make the atmosphere in and outside schools intimidating and the local students and parents may feel uneasy and no proper learning can take place.

“While the practice of sending teachers from Peninsular Malaysia to serve in Sabah and Sarawak may alleviate teacher shortage in the interim, teachers who are public servants should not be used as tools to promote Islamisation in Sabah and Sarawak,” said ACS in a press statement yesterday.

The press statement was in response to Maszlee’s recent statement made in Parliament. He appealed to Ustaz and Ustazah from Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah, who are teaching in schools in Sarawak and Sabah, not to return to Peninsular Malaysia and to make Sabah and Sarawak their Islamic propagation field.

ACS stressed that religious freedom is safeguarded and guaranteed to the people of Sabah and Sarawak, regardless of race under IGC Report, MA63 and the Federal Constitution.

“The majority of the people of Sarawak are non-Muslims and the Sarawak Constitution provides for a secular government and society, where Islam is not the state religion of Sarawak.

“It is clearly stated in the IGC Report that there should be no application to the Borneo States of any federal requirements regarding religious education.

“The IGC report also states that Borneanisation of the public services in the Borneo states is a major objective of policy, and special arrangements will be necessary to secure this objective and to protect the legitimate interests of the native peoples of Sabah and Sarawak,” ACS pointed out.

ACS stated that after 55 years since the formation of Malaysia, the promises and assurance of Borneanisation of the public service of Sabah and Sarawak have yet to be fulfilled.

“There would be sufficient qualified Islamic religious teachers from Sabah and Sarawak by now to teach in local schools if the government had honoured their promise of Borneanisation of the public service in Sabah and Sarawak.

“ACS would like to affirm its commitment towards promoting harmony and unity among all the people of Sarawak and our nation Malaysia,” said ACS. — DayakDaily