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Monday, December 6, 2021

Baru Bian: Why GPS, Abang Jo yet to ask Putrajaya to withdraw appeal on 'Allah' case

 


SARAWAK POLLS | Selangau MP Baru Bian asked why caretaker Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg and GPS have yet to demand Putrajaya withdraw their appeal against the high court's decision to annul the ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims in Malaysia.

He said GPS as a party supporting Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob would have clout with the federal government for the betterment of Sarawakians.

"Voters must ask Abang Johari, GPS ministers and MPs why they have not even tried to speak up for our rights by asking Ismail Sabri to instruct the attorney-general not to appeal the decision on the Allah matter.

"GPS is the party that supported the prime minister to form the federal government. Surely they would have some clout as the proverbial king-maker to gain some advantage for Sarawakians. Instead, they are still acting like the poor cousins of their political masters in the federal government," he said in a statement today.

Baru said that only in a country like Malaysia do we have bigots in the majority who bully the minority communities in this way, and its leaders remain mute about it.

Caretaker Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg

For the record, Abang Johari reportedly said in April that non-Muslims in Sarawak can use the word "Allah" any time, even as Putrajaya appeals against a High Court ruling overturning a ban on the use of the word and three others by Christians in the country.

"I urge Sarawakian voters who want a change in the local leadership to vote for leaders who will fight for us. If we do not want our rights to be chipped away more and more, we cannot stick to the same BN-GPS government that has failed us for 58 years.

"PSB will protect and preserve our cultural and religious uniqueness. We will ensure that Peninsular Malaysian politicians will not dictate what we can and cannot do and what words we are allowed to use in our religious practices," he said.

Baru is also a PSB candidate for the Ba'kelalan seat in the Sarawak state election.

Government intent on limiting non-Malay's rights

On March 10, the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed Ireland's judicial review seeking a declaration that she has the right to use the word "Allah" for religious and educational purposes.

High court judge Nor Bee Ariffin ruled then that the government has erred in issuing the 1986 ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

In the long-running saga spanning 13 years, Ireland initially instituted an action for the return of Malay-language Christian CDs and religious books seized by customs at the Kuala Lumpur Low-Cost Terminal (LCCT), Sepang, in 2008.

However, following a court order to have the items returned to the clerk in 2015, her legal battle became one seeking court declaration over the right to use the word "Allah".

Yesterday, Upko president Wilfred Madius Tangau reminded Ismail Sabri that if he was sincere about the "Malaysian Family" concept, he should instruct the AG's Chambers to withdraw its appeal against the High Court's March 10 ruling.

Tangau strongly urged all parties in Borneo to unite and urged the Ismail Sabri administration to withdraw the Muhyiddin Yassin government's appeal against the High Court's ruling.

Baru said Tangau's remarks on the Allah controversy was timely, said Baru.

"Since Ismail Sabri took office, we have not seen any action from him or his cabinet to convince us that he is serious about his 'Malaysian Family' concept.

"Rather, this government seems intent on limiting the rights of the non-Malays in this country," he said.

Baru cited the Timah whisky debacle, the 51 percent Bumiputera equity requirement in the freight forwarding business and the ban on gambling in certain states and the restriction on the sale of alcohol in Kuala Lumpur as examples to strengthen his points.

"The High Court's decision was consistent with the rights of all Malaysians under the Federal Constitution and particularly the rights of Sarawakians and Sabahans pursuant to the recommendations set out in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report 1962 and the terms of the Malaysian Agreement 1963," he said.

Baru said the Inter-Governmental Committee had recommended that Sabah and Sarawak be given special guarantees because of several factors, one of which is that Sabah and Sarawak are culturally and religiously distinct from Peninsular Malaysia.

"This is a fact that Peninsular Malaysians and particularly the federal government refuse to accept. We are at risk of being subsumed into the culture of Peninsular Malaysia if we do not stand up to protect our heritage and our identity," he added.

 - Mkini

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