Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sarawak assistant minister in hot water over hudud statement

MAY 01, 2014
A Sarawakian leader has come under fire from both his colleagues and the opposition for saying the state will comply with any decision made by the prime minister on the motion of a private member’s bill on hudud.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman's statement on Tuesday has led many people to believe it was the state's stand on hudud.
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing ticked off Daud for his remarks, telling him he “has no business deciding for Sarawak”.
State PKR chief Baru Bian, meanwhile, accused Daud – who oversees Islamic affairs for the state cabinet – of trying to sell off what is left of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Baru (pic) said Daud's remarks showed he had not only failed to protect Sarawakians’ religious freedom, it also revealed a lack of understanding on the rights of Sarawak which are protected under the agreement.
“The first of the 18 points in the agreement relates to religion (and this) points to the paramount concern our forefathers had about protecting this most precious freedom for Sarawakians.
“For Sarawak, the stand is very clear. In accordance with the vision of our forefathers, Sarawak should remain a secular state,” Baru said.
“The decision had already been made for us and it is not for Daud, one or two state governments or even the prime minister to make any alterations to those rights.
“We are not opposing hudud for the purpose of rejecting Islam nor are we claiming new rights for ourselves.
“We are talking about maintaining the status quo under the social contract that was agreed among the partners in the Federation of Malaysia.”
The absence of a state religion, Baru said, was one of the pivotal factors in Sarawak agreeing to be a part of Malaysia in 1963.
“Daud’s response should therefore be clear and unequivocal, that there should be no hudud law for Sarawak, in accordance with our rights.”
Baru also questioned why Daud would want to “just throw” all the ideals, rights and safeguards away by declaring “we will follow Najib”.
“How could Sarawak simply follow the prime minister's stand when he is neither here nor there” and even when former Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had consistently rejected all forms of religious extremism in Sarawak?” Baru said.
“Our state leaders should be more knowledgeable on the history of Sarawak and our constitutional rights, and be more assertive in speaking up for these rights of Sarawakians so that the harmony in our community will be protected and preserved for generations to come.”
Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, also said he was not convinced by the assurance given by some political leaders that hudud would not affect non-Muslims even if it was implemented.
“I am not convinced as recent developments in West Malaysia have been infringing on the rights of non-Muslims,” he said, citing the recent banning of Bibles in hotel rooms in Pahang by the state Islamic council.
“The misgivings of non-Muslims are justified, given the Allah controversy, the raid of the Bible Society and confiscation of the Al-Kitab and Bup Kudus and most recently, the kidnapping of the Hindu boy by his Muslim convert father and the subsequent refusal of the Inspector-General of Police to take any action.
“All these are not consistent with the rhetoric of the authorities that non-Muslims will not be affected by the goings-on of the religious bodies.
“These incidents are signs that the rights of minorities are slowly and insidiously being eroded while the government pays lip service to the protection of our rights.
“How do they expect us to trust them?” he added.
Baru said that given Najib's poor track record in controlling the religious extremists and bigots in Peninsular Malaysia, “we will be led into the dark abyss of racial strife and religious intolerance should we be so foolish as to follow Najib”. – May 1, 2014.

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