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Sarawak state rep backs PKR’s call for state government to make their stand on federal deputy minister saying BN committed to making Malaysia an Islamic state.

PETALING JAYA: The Sarawak DAP has joined its state ally PKR in calling for the state government to reject a federal deputy minister’s assurance that the Barisan Nasional (BN) will not back down from its responsibility to make Malaysia an Islamic state.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang said Sarawak BN must make its stand on the statement yesterday by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who is also the deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs.

“Sarawak BN must make its voice heard to the federal government and to Sarawakians to allay the fears of the people of other faiths, especially of Christians who form the majority in the state,” Chang said in a statement.

She said the 18-point agreement that Sarawak agreed to in forming Malaysia with Malaya, Sabah and Singapore in 1963 had stipulated that there would be no state religion in Sarawak.

Chang said this was still applicable as the number of Christians had since then grown “by leaps and bounds”.

“These people, while anxious to live in peace and harmony with all our fellow Malaysians, regardless of race, creed and colour would reject the propaganda to make the nation an Islamic country as it contravenes the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as well as the Federal Constitution,” she said.

Yesterday, Asyraf was reported by Bernama as saying that the development of Islam in the country was being strengthened and was a clear signal that the BN government was not evading its responsibility to make Malaysia an Islamic state.

He said the government was providing the financial resources to empower Islam and that this year alone RM987 million was provided to the education ministry for Islamic education and RM559 million to the Malaysian Islamic development department (Jakim).

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian reacted by reportedly saying that the state BN should waste no time in repudiating the statement that the federal BN was committed to establishing an Islamic state in Malaysia.

Chang said the Sarawak government had given an assurance that it opposed PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s tabling of a bill to facilitate the introduction of hudud law in Parliament.

In April this year, Hadi had in the Dewan Rakyat tabled the bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) to intensify shariah punishments.

“In order to maintain our image as the model state of people of all races and religions living in peace and harmony, I urge the state BN to heed the wishes of her state citizens and issue a statement to immediately repudiate deputy minister Asyraf’s statement,” Chang said.

She also called for all Sarawak MPs and state legislators to be united in one voice to uphold the Federal Constitution which guarantees the freedom of religion.

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