KUCHING: The Dayak National Congress (DNC) has slammed PAS and Umno Youth for picking on and casting aspersion on the appointment of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as Chief Justice of Malaysia.
DNC president Paul Raja said the recent statements by PAS and Umno Youth, by profiling Malanjum as non-Muslim and reacting to his appointment with sadness were uncalled for.
Reminding those two political entities that all religions command the people to do good and to promote justice, he pointed out that to pick on and cast aspersions on the Chief Justice as a non-Muslim does not help to promote justice.
“We must state here that being a non-Muslim does not restrict the Chief Justice from administering justice in the highest court of the nation.
“The Chief Justice is a man who has wide experience and is the most qualified and most senior of the Justices of the Federal Court and therefore most suited to helm the Judiciary,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He was responding to the remarks made by Umno Youth that Malanjum’s appointment and PAS’ claim that the legal rights of Muslims were under threat following the appointments of non-Muslims to the top legal positions of Chief Justice of Malaysia, Attorney General (Tommy Thomas) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs (Liew Vui Keong).
Paul said it must be remembered that Malanjum is helming the civil court of Malaysia and not the syariah court.
He added that what was most important was that Malanjum fulfilled the legal and constitutional conditions to be appointed Chief Justice.
“The sad thing here is that in spite of his qualification, he has been overlooked on many occasions in the past,” he said.
Paul also reminded PAS and Umno Youth that Malaysia is a multiracial country and that Sabah and Sarawak are part of the nation with many non-Muslims.
“We just wonder whether they have forgotten that Sabah and Sarawak are part of Malaysia; and that in Sabah and Sarawak, there are many non-Muslims. In Sabah and Sarawak, religion is not an issue.
“We in East Malaysia live harmoniously amongst each other without having any issues with each person’s religion. It is also common that, there are many families in Sabah and Sarawak who practises different religion and it is not an issue, yet they live harmoniously. Perhaps PAS and Umno Youth should come and learn from us,” he said.
He reiterated that Sabahans and Sarawakians, like any other Malaysians, had the right to be appointed to the highest office in the civil service if they were so qualified.
“In fact, we would like to remind (them) that Article 153 of the Federal Constitution has been neglected by the previous regime, as far as the rights of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak are concerned, with regard to appointments in the civil service,” he said.
He added that PAS and Umno Youth should help to build a better Malaysia instead of trying to gain popularity using divisive means.
“We hope PAS and Umno Youth will learn their lesson and be more charitable in their political struggle to promote the rights and welfare of all Malaysians instead of being champions in suppressing other lawful citizens of this country,” he said.
He added PAS and Umno Youth must also know that, the people of Malaysia have spoken clearly during the recent 14th General Election by choosing to have a new Malaysia where everybody can live harmoniously in a multi-racial nation.
“Our race, colour and creed should not be made or use to divide us like what happened under the previous government.”