KUALA LUMPUR, Mac 13 — Attempts to reverse the High Court’s decision to allow non-Muslims to use the word “Allah” for God is racist and an attempt to fan racist fanaticism, United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) said today.
The Sabah party appealed to all Muslim-led parties, Bersatu, Umno, PAS, PKR, Amanah, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu, Warisan and Pejuang to explain to their support base that the High Court’s decision is not an encroachment on or threat to Muslims but rather a return to the status quo pre-1986 where no laws existed.
“The verdict is not an encroachment on the Muslims, as some Malayan political entrepreneurs are attempting to frame it as such.
“It is a restoration of the pre-1986 status quo, part of the Original Malaysia promised to Sabah and Sarawak in 1963,” Upko president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said in a statement.
“All parties should come together to seize the golden opportunity given by the High Court’s decision to close an ugly chapter in the playbook of identity politics in Malaysia. This polemic has hurt for decades so many Bornean and Orang Asli Christians, and their Muslim families and friends who share the pain.”
Madius welcomed PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s sentiments that there were no prohibitions in Islam, but only limits to non-Muslims in using the term “Allah”.
He also urged the Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers to sit down and work together in the off chance the verdict gives rise to more religious fanaticism, while adding that the Borneo based parties should not be afraid to cut ties with parties fanning fanaticism.
“Regardless which side of the divide, Borneo-based parties must be prepared to cut ties, now and even after the next general election, with any parties irresponsibly fanning public discontent against the High Court’s decision. Borneo parties must not accept anti-Borneo Malayans as government partners.
“Upko urges Sabah’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Noor, and the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg, to invite the top leaders of all Borneo-based parties to discuss forming a united front to defend the partial restoration of the Original Malaysia if the agitation by some extremist Malayans gains momentum,” he added.
Last Wednesday, the High Court ruled that the Malaysian government’s directive issued in 1986 with a total ban on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications is unconstitutional and invalid, and also declared orders to affirm Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s constitutional rights to not be discriminated against and practise her faith.
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