Pandikar: Will Opposition remove Islam as Sabah’s official religion?

 |Nov 15, 2017
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia. – File pic credit

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia yesterday challenged those who are purportedly championing the rights of Sabah to prove the sincerity of their struggle to the people, or concede that it is just their political agenda.

This included a challenge to Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) on whether it would amend Article 5A in the Sabah state constitution, namely that Islam would no longer be the official religion of Sabah if the party ruled the state.

Pandikar, in a media statement, said the same challenge was aimed at Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan, who had also claimed that the former was twisting the facts regarding the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Pandikar said he was issuing the challenge because those concerned had misinterpreted the history of Malaysia’s independence and creation and its related laws to suit their respective tastes and political agendas.

“Lately, the issues of the rights of Sabah and Sarawak have been very much touted by those who have their own political agenda.

“I am compelled to make this statement in my capacity as a Sabahan, and not as a speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, because this issue is very serious.

“The quarters who are riding on this issue made a statement, purportedly at the behest of the people of Sabah, as if their opinions are supported by all the people of Sabah.

“Because these quarters are so vehement in upholding the rights of Sabah as purportedly agreed to under MA63, I dare them to prove the sincerity of their struggle to the people of Sabah,” he said.

He said the challenge was based on what was generally understood, that before 1976, Sabah did not have an official religion in line with what was agreed to in MA63.

However, Pandikar said in 1976, the Usno government changed the situation by amending the Sabah state constitution by including a new article – Article 5A – which provided that Islam was the official religion of the state.

“Before I answer the statement of Darell Leiking, who is also deputy president of Warisan, which was published by The Borneo Post today, I want Darell Leiking to state clearly, namely: Will Parti Warisan amend Article 5A in the Sabah state constitution, namely, Islam will no longer be the official religion of Sabah if it (Parti Warisan) rules the state?” he said.

He added that the same question was directed to Kitingan. – Bernama