Hornbill Unleashed

July 4, 2014

‘Allah decision devastating blow for Sarawakians’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Dukau Papau

Sarawakians, especially Christians, are not convinced by the assurance from Chief Minister Adenan Satem that the Federal Court decision to ban the use of the word ‘Allah’ by the Herald will not affect them.

“I do appreciate the words of our chief minister that ‘this will not be a problem for us’, and I commend him for speaking up for Sarawakians,” Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said.

“I believe he is sincere in his intention to keep his word as long as he is the chief minister.

“But I remain unconvinced that Sarawakians are not affected. There have been incidents in Sarawak, such as the holding up of the Al-Kitab at Kuching Port in 2008 and 2011, and the raids carried out on Christian bookshops in Sarawak by the Islamic authorities.

“Yes, I know these happened before Adenan became the chief mnister. But they took place despite there being no state law in Sarawak that prohibits the use of such words, unlike in other states in Malaysia,” Baru (right) added.

He said Adenan may have the best of intentions, but Sarawakians could not forget that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of Islam in Sabah and Sarawak, by virtue of Article 4A of the Sarawak Constitution.

‘They are answerable to the Agong’

The members of Majlis Islam Sarawak and their administrative arm, Jabatan Agama Islam Sarawak (Jais), are appointed by the Agong and are therefore answerable to the Agong, and not to the chief minister, Baru, who is Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson, told a media conference yesterday.

He said Adenan’s position was similar to that of Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, who has no powerover Mais and Jais, which have refused to return the seized Malay and Iban versions of the Bible even though they were advised by the menteri besar to do so.

Mais and Jais are only answerable to the Sultan of Selangor as head of Islam in that state, he said.

In Sarawak, as stated in Section 3 of the Majlis Islam Sarawak Ordinance 2001, the majlis is set up to ‘aid and advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in matters relating to Islam in the state…’

“The members of the majlis are appointed by the Agong on the recommendation of the governor (Section 11) and the power to revoke appointments vests in the Agong (Section 13). The chief minister appears to have no say in the affairs of the majlis and Jais.”

Baru pointed out that the federal Islamic body Jakim, which has branches in Sarawak, is a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department, and presumably, it is answerable to the prime minister and not to the chief minister.

“Sarawakians should bear in mind the fact that the Agong had said in his birthday speech in June this year that several words, including the word ‘Allah’, were the exclusive rights of Muslims.

“Whether he said this in his capacity as the Sultan of Kedah or the Agong is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that he is the head of Islam in Sarawak,” Baru added.

He also called on the Majlis Islam Sarawak and Jakim heads to make a stand on whether they backed Adenan’s statement that Christians are free to use the word ‘Allah’ in Sarawak.

“Will they agree to leave us to read our Al Kitab in peace?”

Baru added: “Sarawakians of all races and religions have been the greatest supporters of the BN over the past decades, but we have not received commensurate support from the BN government.

“The 10-point solution offered to us before the last general election is clearly not worth the paper it is printed on. This political decision of the Federal Court leaves us with little choice but to find a political solution to this farcical situation.

“To my mind, the only solution is a change of the current government, which has failed dismally to protect the rights of Malaysians as enshrined in our constitution.”

4 Comments »

  1. Scotland is working towards independent from the United Kingdom soon.

    So is Texas from USA.

    So is Hawaii (Obama’s hometown) from USA.

    What’s there to stop Sarawak to gain independent from its colonial master – Malaya????

    Comment by Sarawakian — July 5, 2014 @ 3:02 AM | Reply

  2. UMNO Baru controlled BN screwed us through and through and our rural folks and rural Christians still supported and voted for BN for past few decades. It must stop now.

    Comment by Mata Kuchingj — July 4, 2014 @ 5:39 PM | Reply

  3. Article 3(1) Federal Constitution says: “Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religion may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”

    However art. 3(2) 2nd limb thereof says: “…but in any acts , observations, or ceremonies with respect to which the Conference of Rulers has agreed that they should extend to the Federation as a whole each of the other Rulers shall in his capacity of Head of the Religion of Islam authorize the Yang diPertuan Agong to represent him”

    I opine that through art. 3(2) 2nd limb what has happened in Selangor viz: the 1988 Enactment which prohibit the use of 32 words deemed to be the sole right of Muslims to use, and non-Muslims are banned from using any of those words including “ALLAH” etc, has already happened in Sarawak. The fact that there is no similar law like the Selangor 1988 Enactment is no consolation in that regard.

    In Malaysia Act 1963 clause 65 on “freedom of religion” has been removed. Clause 65 says: “Notwithstanding clause (4) of Article 11, there may be included in the constitution of a Borneo States provision that an enactment of the State Legislature controlling or restricting the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among person professing the Muslim religion shall not be passed unless it is agreed to in the Legislative Assembly on second or third reading or on both by a specific majority, not being a majority greater than two third of the total number of members of the Assembly.” As said above this provision has been removed by Act A354.

    With clause 65 in Malaysia Act 1963 already removed (bearing in mind clause 65 in Malaysia Act 1963 drew authority from Inter-Governmental Committee Report (re: clause 15(2) – IGC Report 1963) there is no more need to pass a law to that effect requiring a two-third of the members of the Legislative Assembly to agree. And given BN Sarawak has that majority should such a enactment be tabled to be passed into law in the local DUN it is a moot point really.

    However by virtue of art. 3(2) 2nd limb aforesaid, in a scenario of a religious group detaining any book or article considered by them as “offensive” and notwithstanding such book or articles are to be for users in Sarawak, it is perfectly within the power of art. 3(2) for them to do so.

    Many of the original good intentions behind Malaysia Agreement 1963 or the Malaysia Act1963 are now removed since 1976 to “assimilate Sarawak into, to be equal with other States in Malaya.”.

    And the final nail is in article 4 of Federal Constitution which says “Malaysian Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation”.

    50 plus years Sarawak been in, and assimilated into Malaysia since 1976. Can the people of Sarawak do anything on this? Has the 10-pointers by PM Najib and Idris Jala, Minister in PM’s Department, any effect in changing things? I opine that the 10-pointers cannot have any bearing over the ruling by recent Court of Appeal on the matter really. That CA’s decision is correct as to the position in the constitution as narrated above.

    And as regard whether Sarawak people can do anything about it, I believe locally in Sarawak’s people that we can. Even our CM Adenan Satem, thanks to him, has been brave to demand for 20 percent in oil royalties. Although I would urge him to demand for 50 percent. Why not oil is rightly Sarawak’s wealth.

    And he has also said that Sarawak can do without those things which are done to the dismay of many in Selangor. Certainly we do without such repressive laws as the ones in Selangor and notwithstanding whether or not they are doing that in Selangor in order to shake PR Government in Selangor so that it could be defeated by UMNO/BN in GE14 i.e a political strategy.

    And it must be noted as being positive towards Sarawak taking stock of its own riches, the former CM in 2013 celebrated Sarawak’s Independence Day on 22nd day of July by holding dinner, grand one, at the Convention Centre.

    These few tit-bits show things are moving positively.

    And if the people push it together for changes for the better, Sarawak can achieve great things for its people: Malays, Ibans, Bidayuh, Chinese, and others. There is so much money garnered from oil and next gas coming on stream that can be utilized to develop Sarawak for its people should positive change brings that about. Can we do that?

    Comment by Anek — July 4, 2014 @ 4:26 PM | Reply

  4. Brethren, if we don’t wake up soon enough, we shall share and go through the exact experience of the frog in a boiling pot, baked brown. Our forerunners had jumped in a lion den and their misstep has left us steamed up in the cook up deals which are never fair and honourable. To remain in the pot or out of it, the choice is ours.

    Comment by Kopi O — July 4, 2014 @ 2:25 PM | Reply


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