KOTA KINABALU: Party Bersatu Sabah has lashed out at Shafie Apdal for saying that the party’s leaders and those of other Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah were afraid of speaking up for Christian rights, and claiming that role for himself.
“This is plain hypocrisy and political opportunism. Clearly the Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) President is trying to divide the KDM community by exploiting the sensitivities of Christians and inciting them against BNl,” said Johnny Mositun, the PBS Secretary-General.
Shafie had named Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS), Bernard Dompok (Upko), Joseph Kurup (PBRS) and Madius Tangau (Upko) for failing to protect the religion and not rejecting UMNO’s cooperation with PAS.
“All those KDM leaders named by Shafie are on record as having publicly defended the right of Christians in Sabah including the right to use the word ‘Allah’ in their Bahasa Melayu Bibles and worship.
“The BN Government has conceded to their demands, so what is Shafie talking about?” Mositun said in a statement.
On the PAS-UMNO cooperation Mositun said it was the right of any BN component party to cooperate with any non-BN party as long as it was not done to oppose the coalition.
Mositun pointed out that PAS was not a BN party and neither had it applied for membership. The party supported UMNO on some issues but also opposed it on others.
“Furthermore, that cooperation is informal and at the behest of PAS which is also opposed to the opposition front trying to topple the BN. And PAS is no threat to us in Sabah, so why should we confront UMNO for that?
“The Prime Minister himself has assured us that all our rights will be respected and honoured, and even rights that have eroded will be restored,” Mositun said.
Mositun said PBS was opposed to the use of religion for political mileage as this would destroy the culture of tolerance, mutual respect for and acceptance of each other that Sabahans had developed and practiced over a long time.
“No, PBS will not take the bait that Shafie is dangling before our eyes. He’s the hypocrite, not us. Before he went around insisting that BN respects the rights of Christians in Sabah, now he’s saying something else.
“On our part PBS has a clear vision of our struggle for the future of our people and the state. The economic and security challenges ahead of us are the priority, not cheap politicking,” Mositun said.
Mositun said all Christian leaders of political parties in Sabah, government and opposition, were unanimous in preserving and protecting their religious practices and rights, and it was ridiculous for Shafie and his Parti Warisan Sabah to posture as the defenders of Christianity in Sabah.
“Just because he has a few KDM representatives in his party line-up and defectors from PBS joining him recently, he is trying to entice KDM support using religion. Jake Nointin and some of his supporters leaving PBS has minimal impact on our party.
“The majority of our members are still with us, and we have new members joining us all the time. It’s all normal in politics,” Mositun added.
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