Salleh to walk on Aug 13, says Ramadan a ‘non-issue’

KUCHING – Former PBB strongman Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin said today that he would participate in the MoCS ‘Walk for Democracy and Reforms’ slated for August 13 in Kuching.

“I will be there with my supporters. I also urge Sarawakians to turn up in support of MoCS’s agenda for change and urgent political reforms in the state,” he said.

Salleh, a cousin of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, contested in the April 16 state election in Balingian under the auspices of MoCS.

A former deputy education minister, he was once tipped to succeed Taib but fell out with his cousin whom he recently described as a “semi-insane” leader who surrounded himself with bomohs and witchcraft.

Salleh who was appointed MoCS adviser last week urged his fellow Muslims to come out in full force to participate in the Aug 13 event, saying that staging the walk during Ramadan was a ‘non-issue’.

He explained that “observing the holy Ramadan is a moral consideration while actually performing the ritual of fasting by Muslims is a religious obligation.

“Since Islam forbids compulsion and at the same time allows its adherents to enjoy full freedom of belief and conscience, members of other religious denominations within our society must equally be granted freedom of choice which is the corner stone of collective responsibility and religious tolerance.

“Having courage and steadfastness to convey the messages of love, justice and freedom through the sanctity of Ramadan is also a form of Jihad (striving in the way of God).

“Helping fellow members of a community who may not be Muslims to gain freedom of information, to educate and convey the message of truth in an open, peaceful and free environment is also encouraged during Ramadan,” he added.

Salleh observed that “the strict observance of the holiness of Ramadan during the actual walk is in itself a constraint-inducement to create problems.”

“In fact, it is an act legitimately allowed under religious tenets and is morally encouraged to be carried out provided it is peaceful and does not include striving for individual or personal interests to enhance dominance, glory, wealth, prestige and pride,” he said.

Salleh said that MoCS’s struggle was “in the interests of the community at large and it is striving for righteous deeds”.

“The walk is also a solemn event with prayers, singing of patriotic songs and honouring the heroes of Sarawak. Its theme ‘We Love Sarawak’ is also about care and compassion. There is nothing to suggest that the event is against the sanctity of Ramadan or insulting to Islam.

“As a Muslim, I approve and support the MoCS walk and all right-thinking Muslims who love Sarawak should do likewise,” he said.

Salleh urged his fellow Muslims, especially the few in PBB, not to turn the peaceful event into a religious issue.

“Instead, we should be proud and honoured that our non-Muslim brethren are walking with us for a good cause during the holy month of Ramadan,” he said.

Salleh revealed that another former deputy education minister, Datuk Bujang Ulis, has also confirmed his attendance at the Aug 13 walk.