Partnering with PAS insult to Christians in Sarawak and moderate Muslims, says Dayak activist

Peter John Jaban (file photo)

KUCHING, Nov 21: Partnering with Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is an affront to Christians in Sarawak and moderate Muslims, says Sarawak activist Peter John Jaban.

To him, any partnership which involves PAS is unthinkable.

“Any coalition which will put a PAS puppet prime minister in the top post is equally abhorrent to the non-Muslim majority of Sarawakians, especially a politician who uses unfounded threats of ‘Christian plots’ to support his position,” said Peter John in a statement today.

Therefore, Peter John called on the Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg who is also the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman to consider his alliances carefully and reject the Islamic extremism which could make Malaysia a pariah state.

He asserted that Sarawak can and should work towards greater autonomy, but it cannot pull up the drawbridge completely. There are too many government departments which still hold sway over the lives of Sarawakians, both Christian and Muslim alike.

“Can our Premier prevent the forced conversions on marriage? Can he control the actions of JAIS (Selangor Islamic Religious Department) against these unwilling converts?

“Can he stop the world from seeing the increasing extremism in Malaysia as a reason not to invest in our futures? PN (Perikatan Nasional) is PAS dominated. There is no other way to see this and therefore a PN (Perikatan Nasional) prime minister is unacceptable,” said Peter John who is Global Human Rights Federation (Malaysia) vice secretary in a statement today.

He opined that PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin himself showed that he is unfit to be a prime minister for Sarawak.

“His bigoted anti-Christian statements on the eve of the election show at worst his own religious intolerance, or at least his own willingness to use extremist sentiment to either placate his coalition partners or to drive an election win.

“Words have consequences and this kind of platform empowers the worst members of Malaysian society. The majority have voted for moderate multi-culturalism.

“Sarawak has put its trust in GPS to deliver this. Do not betray us now in a rush to sign a deal that all Malaysians will have to live with for the next five years and beyond,” said Peter John.

He said Malaysia has shown both its willingness to control and punish corruption in the last few years. It has jailed one of the scions of Malaysian political society.

He noted there is now a mechanism in place to deal with this and Malaysia is on the right track.

“But little is being done to address religious extremism”.

“This is the new battleground for Malaysia. The majority of Malaysian Muslims are tolerant, reasonable people who want religious freedom, social balance and economic growth.

“The majority of Sarawakians are Christians who expect to conduct their lives undisturbed. We must choose an alliance that supports this,” said Peter John. — DayakDaily