KOTA KINABALU: In response to the court decision to disallow the use of the name "Allah" the Borneo's Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM) had repeated its call for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.
In a stern statement here, BOPIM's President, Daniel John Jambun, said that there are countless reasons why such a step is now justified and the Christians of the Borneo states are now regretting joining Malaysia because they are now having their rights to religious freedom trampled on by the Malays who they now see as the colonialists.
"The call by Malay supremacist, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman for Christians to leave Malaysia if they cannot accept the supremacy of Islam in the country is a clear challenge to use to secede," Jambun said. "All this while we had been complaining abut the economic injustices of the federal government, robbing Sabah of its wealth but Abdullah Zaik may have just accelerated the great social disintegration in Malaysia.
"This arrogance is revolting to say the least and marks the true attitude of the Malay supremacists who believe a large chunk of the Malaysian population simply cannot ask for their human rights. Abdullah Zaik must be totally ignorant about what human rights are, why the Suhakam was formed, what the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights is and what Malaysia is all about," Jambun added. "And because of this ignorance and his abominable supremacist attitude, he is also blind to the provisions in the Federal Constitution guaranteeing us our humans rights as Malaysians. For instance, Article 12 provides that 'there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth'."
Jambun said that Adbullah Zaik must now wake up to the reality that the strident call for secession from the federation is everywhere in the Borneo states, and those making the call are not interested to migrate but to pack up and leave the federation for good.
He pointed out that the federal leaders must also now be aware of the hilarious irony of the 20 Points, in which Point 1 says "While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo" while Point 7 says "There should be no right to secede from the Federation."
"Do they realize that if they say Point 1 cannot be applied because the 20 Point is no longer valid, they are also saying Point 7 is also no longer valid, hence we now have the right to secede?" Jambun stressed. "So now the federal leaders from the Peninsular has to decide whether the 20 Point is valid or not, in which case we either can reject an official religion in Sabah, or we can leave the federation. They just can't have it both ways and use either of the two points anytime according to the convenience of the moment. I challenge the Prime Minister to state the BN government's firm and clear stance on this thorny issue.
"It is also extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister is again playing dumb on another very critical issue which is threatening to tear the nation apart. He cannot just continue being ambivalent or speak his pro-Islamist bents just because of the forthcoming Umno general assembly. He needs to show that he is the Prime Minister of all Malaysians and not just of the Malaysia at this critical time," he said.
Jambun said that all this while the non-Malays had accepted the Malay's position in the governance of Malaysia, but that doesn't mean they can trample on our rights and dignity of Christians as and when they like as if Christians have no contributions to Malaysia.
"Keep in mind that without Sabah and Sarawak there would have been no Malaysia and the Peninsular wouldn't have enjoyed great infrastructural developments without our taxes and natural resources," he said. "This is why the call by Nasharuddin Mat Isa for an end to the 'special' privileges granted to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak a totally laughable presumptuousness which betrays his utter ignorance of our incalculable contributions to the wealth and development of the Malays.
"Anyway, I wonder what special privileges have we been having other than the right to practice our religion as guaranteed by the federal constitution. Is he saying that we should be forbidden from worshipping from now on?" Jambun asked.
He said the Malay supremacists must stop raising controversies using the issue to prop up their names in politics and instead take heed the warning by Bolly Lapok, the Anglican archbishop for Southeast Asia, that, "Proscribing the use of the word ‘Allah' would instantly turn these native Bumiputeras into law breakers in the very land of which they are sons of the soil. This is not only abhorrent but wholly unacceptable."
He said that also important to consider is the warning by James Masing, a BN leader, that the Appeals Court's decision will have a negative impact on non-Muslims beyond Sabah and Sarawak. Opposition politician Baru Bian, the head of PKR Sarawak, had expressed shock at the ruling, saying, “I am stunned by the decision. We have produced very clear facts that we were promised a guarantee by our forefathers when Sabah and Sarawak helped form Malaysia. The ruling appears to go against the fundamental rights that were promised," he had said, calling it repugnant and oppressive.
Jambun said the challenge for the federal government now is how it is going to implement the prohibition of the use of "Allah" which had been going on for over a century because the Christians in the Borneo states have decided to defy it and will continue to use the term regardless of the ruling.
"Are they going to send observers and spies into each and every Christian worship service from now on? Are they going to confiscate all Alkitabs containing the term and other Malay Christian publications? And is the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka an institution to promote the Malay language only for Malays or all Malaysians? Why are Christians prohibited from using 32 words of the language? Is the Malay language now an instrument of the Malaysian government to oppress its own people? Note also that this court decision had instantly raise the ire, and ignited hatred of non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak against the federal government. So there goes 1Malaysia!"
Jambun also said that even Muslims are clearly against it, including PAS whose central committee member Khalid Samad who had said "The government should educate Muslims regarding all the verses of the Quran which mentions non-Muslims discussing about Allah with the Prophet Muhammad, and using the word freely without any hindrance whatsoever.” The Shah Alam MP said the government seems to be very proud that "we are the only Muslim nation that practices this ban – that we are going beyond even what the Prophet Muhammad had done. Islam allows non-Muslims to use the word in the first place," Khalid said.
"As far as BOPIM is concerned, the real issue now is not 'Allah' but secession. In fact we don't even have to call for such a move because it is already in the minds of a lot of Sabahans. If the government doesn't believe this I challenge it to undertake a referendum in Sabah and Sarawak immediately."