GPS upholds religious tolerance

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KUCHING: The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government has always supported religious tolerance and its position on the recent High Court ruling on the ‘Allah’ issue has been consistent, a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

“It has to be made clear that the state government since the administration of Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to Pehin Sri Adenan Satem and now under the current administration, our policy on religious tolerance in Sarawak is consistent. 

“Muslims respect Christians as much as the Christians respect the Muslims, and so with people of other religions.

“There has never been restriction for Christians in Sarawak to use the word ‘Allah’ with respect,” Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said in a statement issued by his office yesterday.

The chief minister was responding to notions propagated by various quarters that GPS has not been vocal on the issue after the federal government sought to appeal the recent High Court ruling which allowed the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in Malaysia.

He assured that the state government would continue to defend and preserve Sarawak’s religious tolerance.

“This is due to it being the core unifying factor for the people in the state. Our deed in assisting other religions through Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) is a testimony,” he said.

The Chief Minister said it was expected that some quarters would exploit the issue, being pseudo-champions using Adenan’s quotes for their own mileage as the state election nears.

“We trust that the people will not be influenced by the tactic of casting doubt and aspersion on the government’s stance but continue to stand firm to protect religious unity in Sarawak,” he said.

Recently, opposition leaders flooded the media, alleging that GPS has been silent on Putrajaya’s decision to appeal the High Court’s decision.

In a landmark judgment on March 10, the High Court ruled that Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian from the Melanau tribe, has a constitutional right to own books and compact discs that use the word ‘Allah’ for God.

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