PBS man says Zawawi’s remarks are ‘seditious and unforgivable’

Joniston Bangkuai of PBS says Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh of PAS should apologise.

KOTA KINABALU: Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh of PAS has come under further criticism over his remarks on the Bible, with PBS information chief Joniston Bangkuai saying Zawawi’s remarks were “seditious and unforgivable”.

Joniston said Zawawi’s statement was baseless, and could cause divisions between Malaysians of different races and religions. “Instead of making baseless statements, we should support and promote tolerance and practice a culture of mutual respect at all times,” he added.

Last week, in a Dewan Rakyat debate on proposed higher penalties on drink driving, Zawawi had said that biblical injunctions about drinking alcohol had been “distorted or altered” – leading to widespread rebuke from Christian associations and politicians.

Parti Warisan Sabah treasurer general Terrence Siambun and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) deputy president Donald Mojuntin have also spoken out against Zawawi’s statement, while in Sarawak, three state DAP leaders pushed for a police investigation.

Siambun said the comments would negatively affect PAS’s allies during the coming state elections, while Mojuntin urged Zawawi to retract his statement.

Joniston said it was normal for families of various faiths in Sabah and Sarawak to sit and spend time together without any problems. “…Such is our high level of tolerance and respect for each other, and that is why statements like these have never been heard in East Malaysia,” he said.

“We join the call for him to make an open apology. Having said that, we hope that Malaysians do not get carried away by the shallow definition set by some individuals with twisted minds and vested interests,” he said.