Dayak leaders in GPS should speak up against call to appeal “Allah” ruling

By S. Harrish

DAYAK political leaders in GPS have been told to speak up against Umno and Pas’ call for the government to appeal the ‘Allah’ ruling.

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) president Bobby William said it viewed with grave concern the decision on the call by the two parties.

According to the Borneo Post, he said PBDSB believed that such a decision by the Muafakat Nasional was counter-productive to the race and religious relation in the country as the issue has been dragging on for so long.

“PBDSB also expressed concern as to why Dayak leaders in GPS are strangely quiet, deaf and dumb regarding the issue to date.”

As partners in Perikatan Nasional together with Umno and PAS, GPS Dayak leaders should come out with a strong statement against this, he said.

William said GPS Dayak leaders should show their displeasure and concern regarding the actions of their PN partners on this matter if they really have the sincerity to speak and defend the rights of the Dayak, who are mostly Christians.

He cautioned that the verdict might be short-lived with the appeal and asked if the Sarawak government would stand up for Sarawak Christians if such an appeal were to happen.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday ruled that Christians nationwide can use the word “Allah” and three other Arabic words in their religious publications for educational purposes.

Meanwhile, Sarawak deputy chief minister Tan Sri James Masing has rebuffed those calling for the appeal, saying they are being “ridiculous” as Malaysia was a multi-religious country.

Masing had earlier said that the court decision showed religious freedom in the country.

“It is a most ridiculous demand by any political party or religious group in a multi-religious country like Malaysia,” he said.

Masing said that if these parties wanted the government to appeal the decision, they would need to seek a review of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which recognises the rights and freedom of religion for Muslims and non-Muslims.

“We should let the court and those who are trained in religious tenets, such as ustaz and pastors, decide when it comes to such matters, not politicians,” he said.