Sabahan leader calls for halt to ‘conversions’ of villagers

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PETALING JAYA: The head of a major indigenous grouping in Sabah alleges that irresponsible national registration department (JPN) officers are “converting poor and illiterate Dusun and Murut villagers” to Islam, The Borneo Post reported.

Momogun National Congress (MNC) president Henrynus Amin said these rogue elements in JPN had carried out these “paper conversions” without the villagers having gone through the actual conversion according to Islamic rites.

“MNC is deeply disturbed by reports of JPN officials illegally changing the religious status of unsuspecting Dusun and Murut villagers without getting the necessary consent from those affected.

“There are numerous reports of families facing difficulty due to their religious status as Muslim in their identity card when in fact they are not Muslim,” Henrynus said in a statement yesterday, according to the daily.

Henrynus, who is former PBS secretary-general, called for an immediate investigation into the allegations of poor and illiterate Dusun and Murut villagers who are non-Muslim being illegally reclassified as Muslim in their identity cards.

“Immediate action must be taken against these rogue elements within JPN who were illegally manipulating the national data system with impunity.

“While religious conversion from one religion to another is quite common in Sabah, illegally changing the religious status of poor, illiterate and unsuspecting villagers without their consent is a serious crime,” Borneo Post quoted the former Kinabalu (now Ranau) MP as saying.