By John Isaac
THERE is no need for anybody to seek cheap publicity over the ‘Allah’ issue as it is not a problem in Sarawak, says federal Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
According to him, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has made it very clear that this is not an issue in the state.
“The government leaders are well aware of the sentiments of the Christians because this is not something new. So there is no need for everybody to seek cheap publicity from this,” Nanta, who is Kapit MP, pointed out during a press conference reported by Borneo Post.
Nonetheless, he also pointed out that the federal government had the right to appeal against the High Court’s decision on allowing the Christians to use the word ‘Allah’ for religious and educational purposes.
In this respect, he said the laws provided the allowance for such appeal to the made.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), in a statement issued on Thursday, reminded Sarawakians that there was never any restriction for Christians in the state to use the word ‘Allah’.
It said in reference to the various statements issued to the media regarding the ‘Allah’ issue, it must be made clear that the state government – from the time of former chief ministers Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, up to the current administration under Abang Johari – the state policy on religious tolerance in Sarawak had remained consistent.
“The Muslims respect the Christians as much as the Christians respect the Muslims, and so forth with people of other religions,” it added.
The CMO also said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-state government would continue to defend and preserve Sarawak’s religious tolerance as it served as ‘the core unifying factor’ for the people in the state.
On the ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ programme, Nanta said it was implemented by the government to raise public awareness of the initiatives and measures undertaken by the government in the fight against Covid-19.
It included explanation of the Proclamation of Emergency and the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme – among other initiatives, he added.
“This (programme) is being done following the spread of fake news that has created confusion among Malaysians.
“The people need to be well informed about the measures taken by the government towards stabilising the situation, which has affected the norms of life, the economy, social matters, and also the nation’s politics,” said Nanta.