Saturday, August 13

‘Nothing wrong to hold polling on a Sunday’


SIBU: Politicising the polling date for the 13th general election represents another clear proof that the opposition is bent on opposing anything that the government or Election Commission (EC) does.

PBB supreme council member Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he felt “very much amused” how PKR and DAP had equated polling on a Sunday (May 5) to being disrespectful and an inconvenience to Christians.

“It reflects the negative mentality of opposition leaders, who will oppose anything that the government or EC does.”

Pakatan Rakyat had blamed the EC for being insensitive to the needs of the rural folk in Sarawak and Sabah by setting polling to be on a Sunday. State DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen complained that most rural natives are Christians with church service in the morning, and many had to travel long distances to vote.

Abdul Karim, who is Assistant Minister of Youth Development and Asajaya assemblyman, said: “I mean no disrespect to Christianity and their followers in Malaysia. I fully believe that Christian Sunday Mass and prayer services must be given due respect as much as other religious services too.

“Prayer services don’t take a whole day. One can go for Sunday Mass or religious service and after that, fulfil one’s duty as a citizen by going to vote.

“No big deal about it. If Baru (Bian), Chong or See (Chee How)  thinks that it is disrespectful or inconvenient to Christians, they should remember that Muslims have to pray five times a day and they should also complain as to why we allow voting to be done during Muslim prayer hours.”

He urged Pakatan leaders not to criticise just for the sake of criticising.

He said he could not understand why Baru, Chong or See did not object to Kelantan and Kedah, states under Pakatan Rakyat, having Sunday as a working day.

“Aren’t there Christians too in those states? Or why don’t they ask for Friday to be a public holiday too in Sarawak, as Muslims have their mandatory religious service on that day too?”

There is always ample time for God and ample time to fulfil one’s duty to the nation, argued Abdul Karim. He recalled that since 1986, there had been three general elections in which polling were held on Sundays.

In the 1986 polls, it was on Aug 3; in 1990 (Oct 21); and in 2004 (March 21).

“These three leaders (Baru, Chong and See) must have short memories or are they criticising just for publicity sake and arousing religious sentiments.

“For goodness sake, put aside this negative mentality and help to promote harmony by calling all Malaysians and party supporters to go out and vote and avoid any statement that could arouse religious or racial hatred.

“This country is ours to share and look after.”