Sarawak gov’t never wavers in religious tolerance stance

Abang Johari

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KUCHING, March 18: There has never been restriction for Christians in Sarawak to use the word “Allah” with respect as the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government reiterated its firm stand in its policy on religious tolerance. 

The Chief Minister Office (CMO) made this clear in a statement today that the State government’s policy on religious tolerance in Sarawak has remained consistent from the administration of Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to Pehin Sri Adenan Satem and now the current GPS government led by Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. 

“The Muslims respect the Christians as much as the Christians respect the Muslims, and so with people of other religions. 

“The GPS government will continue to defend and preserve Sarawak’s religious tolerance as it is the core unifying factor for the people in the State,” CMO emphasised. 

CMO pointed out that the State government’s deed in assisting other religions through Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) was a testimony. 

“It is understandable that certain quarters who are merely ‘pseudo champions’ – to use Tok Nan’s phraseology – are politicising the issue in view of the impending state elections. 

“The GPS leadership trust that the people will not influenced by the tactic of casting doubt and aspersion on the government’s stance but continue to stand firm to protect religious unity in Sarawak,” CMO added. 

Meanwhile, Sarawak leaders and many sectors of the community in Sarawak have rejoiced and welcomed the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling on March 10 on the use of the word “Allah” and three other Arabic words of “Baitullah”, “Kaabah” and “solat” by non-Muslims in their religious publications for educational purposes. 

But the next day, Muafakat Nasional (MN) Consultative Committee comprising of UMNO and PAS had then urged the Federal government to appeal the decision of the High Court. 

Following that, Putrajaya has on March 12 filed an appeal against the High Court’s ruling which then drew backlash from various quarters including leaders in Sarawak and Sabah. 

It also led to a group of Sarawakian and Sabahan lawmakers including the Opposition issuing a joint-statement demanding that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassion, the Federal government and the people of Malaysia withdraw the appeal. 

The group comprising 18 members of Parliament (MPs) and four Senators from Sarawak and Sabah have called upon all Malaysians to accept the ruling that declared the “Allah” ban since 1986 as unconstitutional. — DayakDaily