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Allegation that Sabah churches prefer opposition is ‘destructive criticism’

 | September 21, 2017

Sabah BNBBC chairman Abdul Rahim Ismail says lecturer's opinion implies BN is unwelcoming of Christians.

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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah BN Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) has dismissed an allegation that churches prefer the opposition pact to BN, saying such an opinion is extremely destructive.

Speaking to FMT, Sabah BNBBC chairman Abdul Rahim Ismail said the statement implied that BN is unwelcoming of Christians, hence the churches’ support for the opposition.

“This cannot be further from the truth. BN’s concept is never race-based. One can just look at the component parties. We are not racist and we are not anti-religion,” he said.

Rahim was commenting on a statement by a UUM academician, Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, who made this allegation based on three books written by opposition politicians, who happened to be Christians, on political issues and Christian affairs in the country.

Kamarul also pointed to an article by a DAP member who alleged that Christian leaders are supporting the opposition although they did not openly state it from the pulpit.

Rahim said such opinions are unfortunately not new in Malaysia but as far as BN is concerned, it is a multiracial and multi-religious coalition, especially in Sabah.

“In Sabah, religion is never a problem. We accept and we love everyone, regardless of their beliefs.

“This is why during each religious celebration, we also take part because in Sabah, it is normal to have Muslims and Christians in one big family. It is just our culture,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary-general Johnny Mositun advised Kamarul not to drag religion into politics as this could lead to confusion and stoke distrust among the multiracial and multi-religious society in the state.

“Each of us has our own opinion. I don’t know the motive behind his statement but mixing religion and politics is not a good strategy to win votes.

“He is a university professor. He should not agitate the masses.”

Furthermore, Mositun told FMT that there are many other issues that can be discussed when talking about politics, without dragging religion into the mix.

Too much talk about religion, he said, would confuse the people and threaten peace and harmony.

Mositun, who is also Sabah assembly deputy speaker, said the government is always open to comments and opinions, not just from the ruling party but also the opposition.

He called on all parties to be more open-minded and be rational instead of rehashing old issues to attack one another.

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