THE Muslim-only launderette in Johor, the ban on wearing shorts in public in Kelantan, alleged video on Christianisation and not long ago, who had the right to use the word Allah. All these show one thing: Islamisation is slowly creeping into Malaysia.
This was the observation of the Association of Churches in Sarawak chairman Rev Justin Wan who said these incidents of religious intolerance and extremism in the peninsula will destroy the multiracial fabric of the country.
“The fact that the government did nothing, like in the Johor issue, or taking sides as in the Allah controversy, seemed to show that these incidents have the subtle approval of the government,” he said.
Wan, who is also the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) president, fears what is happening in the peninsula could happen in Sarawak in the next decade if Putrajaya does not wake up and act.
He was referring to the alleged conversion of Sabah natives in poor remote villages by Muslim groups.
A group of about 64 people, including children, from three Dusun villages in the remote Pitas district – Kampung Layung Maliau, Dowokon and Sosop – were allegedly converted to Islam on New Year’s day in 2014 by Muslim groups.
Sabah’s indigenous Christians, who claimed the groups had the support of the state government in proselytising them, reacted by organising “mamangkis” (a traditional war cry performed whenever the enemy comes into their midst and try to dispossess them of their birthright).
“Our forefathers, who got Sarawak to help form Malaysia, had made their stand clear before they agreed to have Malaysia, and now it seems all those were conveniently forgotten.
“Sarawak had agreed to a multiracial Malaysia with Islam as its official religion. It never agreed on Malaysia being an Islamic state.
“We never agreed nor will we ever agree to turn Malaysia into a Taliban-like country,” Wan said as he heaped praise on Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar for putting a stop to the Muslim-only launderette in Muar, Johor.
Wan said he agreed with the Sultan that such a policy is unacceptable and extremist in nature and has no place in multireligious Malaysia.
But Wan questioned: “Where was the government? Why did they do nothing on such religious extremism?
“The government has to make a stand.”
He said Putrajaya has to look back at what was agreed in the Malaysia agreement, in reference to the 18-point agreement – a list of agreements and terms for its incorporation into the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Wan pointed out that the very first point was on religion, which stated “while there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no state religion in Sarawak, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Sarawak”.
“Go back to the Malaysia Agreement. See what we in Sarawak had agreed to. It’s definitely not an Islamic state or a Taliban country.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT