‘Unholy’ chatter unnerves PKR leader

The religious rhetoric by BN leaders was also ‘a smokescreen to prevent more important questions being raised’.

Joseph Bingkasan, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: The theological yammering by politicians in the peninsula should be a wake-up call that the secular nature of the constitution is under threat, a Sabah opposition leader said.

PKR deputy secretary-general Darrell Leiking is worried about how politicians are flogging religion and personal opinions to promote their partisan brand of politics of the country.

The senior PKR leader, a practising lawyer, said talk of incorporating any religious edicts or any statutes that have theological overtones into the country’s laws would be contrary to freedom of belief guaranteed under the constitution.

He said Pakatan Rakyat is clear about this and its component parties have spelt this out in their Buku Jingga or the Common Policies of the coalition.

Leiking said he was worried how Barisan Nasional was using any means to exploit religious beliefs of various leaders to drive a wedge between the diverse communities in the country.

“We have read differing views [of leaders] within Pakatan. It is clear that while PAS speaks to its audience of its mission, PAS speaks and honours its commitment as set out in the Buku Jingga as well,” he added.

Leiking said the opposition coalition’s manifesto spelt out its stand on religious matters clearly and precisely and lashed out at the Umno-led BN coalition for twisting PAS leaders’ words for political convenience.

The PKR leader was referring to the spate of criticisms by MCA and Upko leaders chastising some Pakatan personalities for being too liberal and un-Islamic while at the same time making overtures to PAS to join them so that Islamic laws could be implemented by BN.

He said these components parties were playing a dangerous game to divert attention from their diminishing status in the ruling coalition and to remain relevant.

“I would say they have politicised the hudud law. I am almost convinced that Prime Minister Najib [Tun Razak] and Umno may have given these BN leaders the go-ahead to use this issue of hudud to win their case come the general election.

“I see it as an act of winning by whatever means they deem necessary and sadly this is at the expense of the harmony that is already in place in our multi-faith society.”