Malaysia always meant to be secular, Pas told

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 12 – PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s denial that Malaysia is a secular nation violates the spirit and letter of the Malaysia Agreement, says Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS).

PCS Penampang head Michael Lo told FMT that this status was affirmed by the British parliament when it passed the Malaysia Act 1963 Chapter 35 on July 31, 1963.

“Perhaps Hadi is unaware of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 or the Malaysia Act 1963 Chapter 35. If he wants to make Terengganu non-secular, it is his problem.

“But if he wants to implement it in Malaysia, it becomes our problem and we in Sabah will not compromise. If need be, we will bring such issues to London for arbitration,” he said.

On Sunday, Hadi was reported to have said that Islam rejects secularism, chauvinism and Malaysian Malaysia, a slogan used by DAP in the past.

He was quoted as saying that chauvinism could spark racial conflict and destroy the concept of a civil society that was fair.

Lo said while he sympathised with Hadi’s fear, he believed the PAS leader’s rejection of secularism might cause the disintegration of Malaysia.

He said this was because any attempt to make Malaysia an Islamic state would be a rejection of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and if this happened, Sabah and Sarawak would leave the federation.

According to Lo, under Chapter III Article 15(2) of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, which recommended conditions for the formation of Malaysia, the signatories of the Malaysia Agreement were guaranteed religious freedom — the crux of the Bornean states’ consent to enter into the agreement.

This issue, he stated, was discussed in the IGC and the Malaysia Agreement, and even highlighted in the debate in the British House of Commons and the House of Lords.

If Hadi is adamant and wants to dispute this, Lo said he should go to London for dispute resolution.

“Hadi must understand whatever approved by Parliament which affects Sabah and Sarawak, we have the right to bring this dispute to London.

“For more than 54 years, Sabah and Sarawak did not make use of this avenue. It does not mean Sabah and Sarawak are so stupid they will never ever bring anything up to London,” he said.

Explaining PCS’s position on the Malaysia Agreement, Lo said the party had decided that there should be no more negotiations on the matter as all negotiations ended in 1963.

“The Malaysia Agreement must be implemented immediately. Failure to do this means breaching the agreement and the only option for PCS is to bring these breaches to London for dispute resolution,” he said.

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