Sarawak group calls for independence
KUCHING – A civil society group in Sarawak has called for the state to separate from Malaysia.
- Published: 22/01/2013 at 03:19 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
The Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) claims an ongoing debate about the use of the word "Allah" in the Malay-language Bible in Peninsular Malaysia has caused concern in Sarawak and Sabah, the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.
The group’s leader says he can’t think of any reason for Sarawak to remain part of Malaysia, following comments by MP Ibrahim Ali, calling on Muslims to burn the Bible.
“We, Sarawakians, want no part in this heated quarrel over the Allah issue. The people of Sabah and Sarawak have no religious or racial problems and we don’t wish to be contaminated with ‘religious poison’,” Francis Paul Siah said in a statement, reported by Free Malaysia Today.
Mr Siah said Sarawakians are a different breed and “our racial and religious harmony is genuine, unique and not hypocritical”.
“On these two fronts, the people of West Malaysia could take a cue from us. But would they?” Siah asked.
Mr Ibrahim, founder and leader of the Malay rights group Perkasa, last Saturday called on Muslims to torch Malay versions of the Bible containing the word “Allah” or other religious Arabic words.
Mr Siah said Mr Ibrahim had been allowed to go “scot free”, despite his inflammatory comments.
“How can any Malaysian, let alone government leaders, with the right sense of mind continue to tolerate the likes of Ibrahim and his Perkasa group?” asked Mr Siah.
“We are very disappointed with the prime minister for doing nothing about it. At times, we wonder whether Najib [Razak] is the prime minister of the whole nation which includes Sarawak and Sabah or only of Malaya.”
Mr Siah said that Sarawak should break away from Malaysia.
“The list is too long to detail here but as it stands today, I cannot think of one good reason why Sarawak should remain in Malaysia,” he said.
Mr Ibrahim’s anti-Christian comments were also poorly received in Sabah, where the state reform party also called for a break from the Malaysian federation.
“The prime minister’s silence is good reason for Sabah to secede from the federation because past assurances for us have been reneged and violated, and that we have long felt that we are no longer defended by our own laws, by our own leaders, even by some of our kings,” Sabah STAR deputy chairman Daniel Jambun said in a statement.
Advocates for independence in oil-rich Sarawak and Sabah have long argued that both states receive a poor deal from state-oil company Petronas, arguing that they receive only a fraction of the billions generated by the industry each year.