KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has slammed various groups that protested the district-level Christmas and New Year celebrations in Tawau.
Some, including political parties, had even lodged police reports against the organisers.
PBS Youth chief Christopher Mandut said he was disheartened when he read news reports about the protest, especially because those who protested against the events did so using religion as the basis of their arguments.
“Since when did we become so divided over an event?
“We in Sabah have always celebrated Christmas together as one big family. But now, why can’t we do it any more? And to think that those who protested the events are all Sabahans…”
Mandut said he found the groups’ protest against the choir presentation and the speech by a Christian bishop in particular as mindboggling, especially because there was no element of proselytising, as alleged.
He said he feared the protest was actually just the beginning of the erosion of tolerance and mutual respect long enjoyed by Sabahans.
Such mentality, he said, was alien to Sabah not so long ago to the point that the Bornean state, together with Sarawak, had always been held as examples of what it means to be a truly united multi-religious and multiracial society.
He said Sabahans only heard or read in the news about intolerance towards other religions in West Malaysia.
“Racism is still prevalent there because supremacists are given free rein in Malaya. We in Sabah have always been above that level.
“It is so disappointing to realise we have stooped so low that we are now no different from the rest. Don’t bring that sick mentality and culture into Sabah.”
However, Mandut believed it is still not too late for the Sabah government and the relevant authorities to correct the problem.
He urged religious bodies to talk to one another and to stem the increasing racial and religious superiority complex among the people.
“Unfortunately, this goes both ways and we have people like these on both sides of the fence. What is the government going to do about this?”
Yesterday, a group claiming to represent various political parties, including Warisan, Umno and PAS as well as several Islamic groups, issued a statement condemning the Christmas carnival held in Tawau on Dec 30, 2018.
Another group lodged a police report against Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is Tawau MP, for organising the event.
Meanwhile, Kalabakan Warisan chief Frank Salazar and Tawau Warisan chief Ismail Senang today lodged a police report to deny their involvement in handing over the memorandum of protest to Liew.
In the report, Frank stated that the article, which was published by a local daily, was wrong and both he and Ismail strongly denied their involvement in the matter.