KUCHING: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting said it is not possible to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.
In a post carried on the SUPP News portal, Ting said doing so will require radical amendments to many provisions of the Federal Constitution such as two-thirds majorities in both Houses, consent of the Conference of Rulers and consent of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of both Sarawak and Sabah.
“Sarawak has enjoyed the beauty of living together in peace and harmony irrespective of race or religion or culture and our people will never agree to convert Malaysia into an Islamic state because it is not at the best interest of the people of Sarawak. Thus, the idea of turning Malaysia (into an Islamic state) is definitely a ‘No’.
“When Sarawak and Sabah formed Malaysia back in 1963, our founding leaders of both countries made it very clear during the negotiation that Malaysia was and still is to be as secular state.
“Hence, many safeguards were put in place in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and eventually into the Federal Constitution to make sure that the Federal Government cannot alter our principal safeguards in regard to religion without the consent from our State Legislative Assembly.”
Ting also said that SUPP and a majority of Sarawakians, will never agree with the comments made by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is committed to make Malaysia an Islamic state.
“We all need to be cautious, in particular federal UMNO ministers and deputy ministers, and must be moderate in their views in particular on sensitive issues touching on religion, race and culture.
“In Sarawak we are different and we are indeed blessed that our late Chief Minister (Pehin Sri) Adenan Satem and our present Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari (Tun Openg) had stated very clearly that we have been living peacefully and harmoniously in Sarawak all these years and we have no issues at all on religion, race, religion, race and culture.
“Let us build a stronger Sarawak and a united, peaceful and harmonious Malaysia,” he added.