Sabah DCM shocked by protest against Tawau Xmas celebrations

Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew (far left) handing over the six praying mats to a tahfiz centre representative.

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew today expressed disappointment over the protest against the Christmas carnival her parliamentary office helped organise in Tawau last week.

A group of people protested against the celebrations, claiming the event tried to proselytise Muslims.

Speaking to reporters after handing over six praying mats and other necessities to a tahfiz centre here today, Liew said she was surprised by the objections and the police report lodged against her and other co-organisers of the event.

She also found it ridiculous to involve Warisan and PKR, as alleged by the group in a statement they sent to the local media two days ago.

“That night, I was joined by leaders from other parties, including Warisan. Kalabakan MP Ma’mun Sulaiman was also there. And so were thousands of people of all races and religions, celebrating happily with us.

“So, what are these people protesting for? This is an annual event that we have been organising for the past 20 or 30 years without any problem. Suddenly we cannot do this anymore? Why?”

Liew was commenting on the group, claiming to represent various political parties, including Warisan, Umno and PAS, as well as several Islamic groups, who issued a statement condemning the Christmas carnival held in Tawau on Dec 30, 2018.

The Tawau MP said she hoped Sabahans would reject such a mentality and will continue to live harmoniously with one another instead.

“We don’t want to be affected by this. Is there any such teaching that compels its followers to make this kind of objection? I don’t quite understand.”

Nevertheless, Liew said both Warisan and PKR have already clarified that their parties are not involved in the protest, with Warisan already lodging a police report yesterday.

She said it would be good for the police to investigate the matter to find out who was behind this protest by this group.

She did not entirely dismiss allegations that the incident was probably aimed at causing discord between PKR and Warisan but believed both parties are not that easily confused or influenced by such cheap tactics.

“Not long from now, we will have more celebrations — the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Harvest Festival. Should we expect more protests?”

Meanwhile, in PENANG, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also condemned the parties that staged the protest.

On the reports of PAS submitting a memorandum on the matter, Lim said the party was trying to ruin the racial harmony among Sabahans.

“It shows how ugly PAS is, using poisonous politics of polarisation based on religious extremism to foment fear and hatred, disrupt social harmony and divide the rakyat,” Lim told FMT.