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Warisan: What are the details on the four Shariah Bills?

(from left) Basal, Jenifer and Batholomew.

7 Sept 2021

KOTA KINABALU: Several Warisan State leaders have demanded Sabah PN leaders to stop with their silence and tell Sabahans the truth regarding the proposed bill on 'control and restriction of the development of non-Muslims religions' purportedly to be in the drafting process as reported by Free Malaysia Today (FMT) today.

According to Basal Bullah who is the Deputy Divisional Chief of Parti Warisan Keningau Division, the party through its Treasurer-General, Terrence Siambun had brought up the issue immediately when the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Religious Affairs), Ahmad Marzuk Shaary announced in March this year about the proposed bill and to his knowledge, no Sabah PN leader to date had given any explanation about it.

"Terrence is correct to demand (in March this year) Sabah PN leaders with the likes of the President of STAR, Jeffrey Kitingan and President of SAPP, Yong Teck Lee who sits in the PN Presidential Council Committee together with the Presidents of Bersatu and PAS, Muhyiddin Yasin and Abdul Awang Hadi respectively, to give us the finer details of the proposed bill.

"There had been no answer from any Sabah PN leaders on the issue and when the nominated State Assemblyman, Aliakbar Gulasan of PAS proposed the controversial trolley segregation proposal in June this year, Terrence again demanded Kitingan and Yong to tell us the finer details of the proposed Bill mentioned above.

"And again there was no answer from both gentlemen whom, I would assume, were and currently enjoying equal standing as Presidents of member parties in PN chaired by Muhyiddin who also served as the Prime Minister at that material time (March and June 2021). Kitingan had described him as being very accomodating.

"It has been a good seven months since the proposed Bill was first known and it is unlikely that Muhyiddin decided to drop the matter during his tenure as Prime Minister. Even if both Kitingan and Yong managed to register their concerns to Muhyiddin, the potential backlash from Sabah and Sarawak if the Bill is perceived to be oppressive, there has been no report anywhere that it was rejected by Sabahan leaders, either from PN or BN, who make up the Government of the Day," Basal said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, the former State Education and Innovation Assistant Minister, Jenifer Lasimbang contended that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs), Maximus Ongkili should get the details from his colleague, Ahmad Marzuk Shaari.

If the situation warrants it, she doesn’t see any problem for Warisan and PBS to work together in opposing any attempt to control and restrict the propagation of non-Muslim religions in Malaysia, as freedom of religion is guaranteed and enshrined in the federal constitution.

"Why not? If the Malay-based parties that have divergent and differing idealism in the likes of Bersatu, Umno and PAS, can come to political arrangements such as Muafakat Nasional to cater for the needs of their respective support base, then why can't Warisan and PBS work together on this issue that clearly relates to Sabah's rights?

"In fact, Sabah has successfully thwarted several attempts to suppress the freedom of religion in the State, which I assume include the right of propagation of non-Muslim religions. For example Berjaya with Datuk Peter Mojuntin toppling Usno and Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan winning the Tambunan seat as an independent candidate in 1984.

"So I don't see the problem for Warisan and PBS working together on this issue and in fact, Sabahans would be ecstatic to see us jointly fend off any attempt to suppress our rights but the Minister of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs, Maximus Ongkili needs to get the details and if the situation warrants it, PBS should be in contact with Warisan.

"This is an issue that will not affect anyone's ego as to 'who did it first so perhaps this is the starting point for a unified Sabah political bloc like in Sarawak and in fact, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has always been consistent with his stand on building a nation and not a particular race or religion," she said.

The Chairman for Penampang Act of Kindness Association (PAKA), Batholomew Jingulam said that it is proper that Sabahans know the basics of the Bill and to immediately register their disapproval while the Bill is still in the midst of being drafted.

"To my understanding, and I stand corrected, is that the Bill to control and restrict the propagation of Non-Muslim religion was the immediate reaction by the then PN Federal Government over the Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision on March 10 regarding the Kalimah issue.

"Irrespective of the motivation of these political parties in coming out with such a Bill, there is a need for our Sabahan leaders, especially those in power, to remain ever vigilant and ensure that the spirit of IGC and MA63, which our forefathers agreed to when forming this Federation, remains alive. Unless we have the details of the Bill, any attempt to suppress or restrict the propagation of Non-Muslim religion would obviously be contrary to that spirit.

"While we Sabahans have the right to know the details of a Bill that may very well have emanated from a political decision, our Sabahan leaders in power have the obligation to make immediate notification to enable any remedial measures to be done during the drafting stage so that it will be consistent with IGC and MA63 instead of waiting it to be tabled at Dewan Rakyat," he said.

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