BN member party, PBB, said the move was prompted by the seizure of the Malay bible by Selangor Religious Affairs Department (JAIS) officers recently.
KUCHING: Wary Chief Minister Taib Mahmud-led Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Sarawak has appointed a Muslim and a Christian as joint chairman of its religious bureau in a move to “protect” the state and its “pure values”.
The decision follows further discord in peninsular Malaysia after last Thursday’s raid on the Bible Society Malaysia and confistication of over 300 Al-Kitabs and Iban language bibles meant for Borneo.
PBB women’s wing secretary, Nancy Shukri said the appointment of Lingga state assemblyman Simoi Peri, a Muslim, and Esther Balan a Christian is in line with the party’s efforts to preserve unity among various races and religions in the state.
“The seizure of the Malay bible by Selangor Religious Affairs Department (JAIS) officers recently has prompted Wanita PBB Sarawak to take immediate steps to strengthen racial harmony in the state,” she said in a press statement yesterday.
Majority of Sarawak’s population are Christians.
She said the appointment of Simoi and Esther would ensure that the objective to strengthen harmony in Sarawak would be achieved.
They would oversee matters relating to religion and plan strategies and best practices to ensure unity at the grassroots level is preserved and strengthened.
Nancy, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the concept of Wanita PBB religious bureau is based on the sharing of “pure values in every religion”.
“The concept looks at every aspect in which followers of different faiths will become people who love peace and universal values.”
The ongoing religious discord in West Malaysia is being closely monitored by the political leaders and clergy in Borneo.
On Saturday, Southeast Asia’s Anglican Archbishop Bolly Lapok described last Thursday’s raid by Jais as “treason” given they had ignored the 10 point solution document announced and signed by Prime Minister Najib Razak allowing Christians in Sabah and Sarawak to freely practice their faith.
Holding to the 10-point solution promise by Najib to Borneo Christians back in April 2011 and reiterated following the contentious Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah term, Lapok said the raid had shown no respect to Najib’s words.
In April 2011 the Federal Cabinet issued a 10-point solution to address the Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia Bible and other related issues.
Najib further reiterated assurances that the contentious Oct 14 Court of Appeal ruling on the Herald ‘s use of the Allah term in its Malay publications had no bearing on Christians in Borneo.
The Court of Appeal decision over-ruled a December 2009 verdict favouring The Herald. The decision saw raging anti-Christian sentiments including arson against churches in the early days of January 2010. - FMT