Sunday, September 19

Explanation sought on real status of S’wak’s official religion


KUCHING: The state government has been urged to make an unequivocal and unambiguous statement on whether Islam is the official religion of Sarawak, or the state has no official religion.

State PKR information chief Vernon Aji Kedit said an explanation ought to be sought from either Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem or the State Secretary, in view of the state government’s official website having stated Islam as the official religion of Sarawak.

“This is despite the Sarawak State Constitution clearly stating that Sarawak has no official religion,” he pointed out in a statement yesterday.

Vernon further pointed out that the ‘official religion’ section on the website had somehow been removed without any
explanation after screenshots of it went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp since Thursday.

“The Sarawak State Constitution is clear — Sarawak has no official religion, but the official website stated otherwise. This matter was pointed out by YB Baru Bian (Ba Kelalan assemblyman and state PKR chairman) in his letter to the state secretary in July this year, and no action was taken.

“The matter was again brought up by YB Baru in his speech at the DUN (State Legislative Assembly) debate speech on Wednesday and the issue was reported in newspapers on Thursday. Still no action was taken until the matter went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp on Thursday evening.

“Today (Friday), we note that the offending entry on the website has been removed without any explanation. Therefore, we insist that either the chief minister or his state secretary issue explanation as to why this gross error, regardless of whether it was due to negligence, has been allowed to happen, and why no action has been taken to rectify it when the State Secretary’s Office acknowledged receipt of YB Baru Bian’s letter of inquiry in July this year,” he said.

Vernon stated that PKR Sarawak would expect nothing less than a firm and decisive declaration from the state government as this matter (official religion) was the first non-negotiable point upon which the founding fathers of Sarawak agreed on towards forming Malaysia in 1963.

“Is the current PBB-led government that is beholden to Umno, colluding with Putrajaya in trying to surreptitiously ‘Islamise’ the state of Sarawak through subtle and insidious means, inch by inch?” he questioned.