KENINGAU: Christian leaders of the various Sabah Barisan Nasional component parties have been slammed for failing to protect the religion, with Shafie Apdal condemning them as ‘Christian heroes only in their respective areas.’
The Parti Warisan Sabah chief told the Sabah Christian leaders, “You cannot only protect your religion in your respective areas. You should do it for your country.”
Speaking at a meeting with Christian groups in this interior town on Sunday prior to a larget gathering at Kampung Kauran, Shafie stressed:
“When it comes to the issue of protecting the rights of Sabahans, I don’t mind sacrificing my life.
“When Parti Warisan comes to power it will defend the sanctity of the Christian religion based on the federal constitution.”
Shafie told the gathering of Christians from various denominations based in Pensiangan, Nabawan and Keningau, that he was one of the federal ministers who had supported the use of the word of “Allah” by Malaysians.
Subsequently the federal government decided the word could only be used in Sabah and Sarawak.
Previously, Shafie had told reporters in passing, that when he and (Bernard) Dompok were in the federal Cabinet, he had often supported the then Upko president who was quite vocal in raising Christian issues.
“Dompok was then known as the ‘Pope’ in the Cabinet. Every Minister knew he would fight for Christian issues,” Shafie, a former Umno vice president had previously disclosed.
On Sunday he lambasted Joseph Kurup, the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the PBS president, and Wilfred Madius Tangau, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazan Organisation (Upko) acting president, describing them as “hypocrites” who failed to protect their religion.
Shafie said they had not rejected Umno’s cooperation with PAS, which is seen as teaching an extreme version of Islam.
“Why are Kurup, Madius and Pairin not saying anything to Umno. In parliament and in the BN supreme council they are not saying anything, but in Sabah they are saying things to show they are championing the religion.
“In BN, there should be a spirit of consensus among members, that even one its members rejected there should be no talks.
“But Umno is now working with PAS,” Shafie said in his speech, adding that the fundamental teaching of Islam is that there are no force on any individuals to become Muslims.
“We also need to be reminded It is must be the basis of willingness. This is what we should respect,” he said.
The Semporna Member of Parliament pointed out that in Sarawak, it’s not only Muslims but Christians are also using the word “Allah”.
“In Sikhism, the word has been used for hundreds of years. It’s the same in countries like Jordan and Egypt.
“We should let people from other faiths use “Allah” (but) the government should make sure no one misinterprets the word.”
Shafie also stressed that elements of extremism should not be allowed to creep into Sabah, saying, “We don’t hate people from the peninsula, but we dislike their policies.”
“It’s important that we preserve our harmony and not let extremism make inroads into our society,” he added.
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