Religious row fuels Sarawak-Malaysia separation talks

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DivorceDiscussion are heating up  on several social media channels set up by residents of Sarawak, as well as Sabah, over separation talks from the rest of Malaysia fueled by growing anger among the Christian majority in Malaysian Borneo over anti-Christian and anti-East Malaysian sentiments on the peninsula.

The Muslim-majority Malaysian government in Kuala Lumpur has upheld a ruling that Christians in the country are banned from using the word “Allah” during their religious ceremonies and from printing it in their bibles. Prime Minister Najib Razak reiterated on January 28 that Malaysian Christians must heed rules forbidding them from using the word.

However, Sarawak officials told Sarawak folks to not follow the mindset of Malaysians in the peninsula when it comes to religion. Christian communities in Sarawak have also said that they won’t obey by the rule and rather press for autonomy within the nation or even for separation.

This, in turn, has led Sarawak leaders to caution against demanding separation from Malaysia, saying it can be considered “treason”.

“Don’t talk about cessation. Any movement at cessation is wrong,” Senior Sarawak cabinet minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said when asked to comment on the calls for separation, as well as the virulent anti-Sabah and Sarawak sentiments from the peninsula.

A similar warning was issued by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who said people should “not cross the line” with their postings in the social media, warning that “the government can tolerate almost anything but don’t incite, be seditious or treasonous.”

Wan Junaidi said incitement would lead to dissension and friction between races and religions, which he said the government will not tolerate.

“We do not want the multi-racial, multi-cultural and religious society of ours that is very brittle, to be broken.”

Masing and Wan Junaidi were referring to, among others, a Facebook page titled “Sarawak Goes For Referendum”, which carried a posting in reaction to a photo with the caption “Take back our country”.

However, the Muslim side is also stoking up the fire on the web.

On January 30, a police report was lodged in Sabah over a Facebook page set up by “Semenanjung Malaysia Anti Sabah and Sarawak” which mocked Christianity and East Malaysians. Photographs mocking Christianity, including one of a frog nailed to a cross, had angered many Sabahans and Sarawakians.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Discussion are heating up  on several social media channels set up by residents of Sarawak, as well as Sabah, over separation talks from the rest of Malaysia fueled by growing anger among the Christian majority in Malaysian Borneo over anti-Christian and anti-East Malaysian sentiments on the peninsula.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

DivorceDiscussion are heating up  on several social media channels set up by residents of Sarawak, as well as Sabah, over separation talks from the rest of Malaysia fueled by growing anger among the Christian majority in Malaysian Borneo over anti-Christian and anti-East Malaysian sentiments on the peninsula.

The Muslim-majority Malaysian government in Kuala Lumpur has upheld a ruling that Christians in the country are banned from using the word “Allah” during their religious ceremonies and from printing it in their bibles. Prime Minister Najib Razak reiterated on January 28 that Malaysian Christians must heed rules forbidding them from using the word.

However, Sarawak officials told Sarawak folks to not follow the mindset of Malaysians in the peninsula when it comes to religion. Christian communities in Sarawak have also said that they won’t obey by the rule and rather press for autonomy within the nation or even for separation.

This, in turn, has led Sarawak leaders to caution against demanding separation from Malaysia, saying it can be considered “treason”.

“Don’t talk about cessation. Any movement at cessation is wrong,” Senior Sarawak cabinet minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said when asked to comment on the calls for separation, as well as the virulent anti-Sabah and Sarawak sentiments from the peninsula.

A similar warning was issued by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who said people should “not cross the line” with their postings in the social media, warning that “the government can tolerate almost anything but don’t incite, be seditious or treasonous.”

Wan Junaidi said incitement would lead to dissension and friction between races and religions, which he said the government will not tolerate.

“We do not want the multi-racial, multi-cultural and religious society of ours that is very brittle, to be broken.”

Masing and Wan Junaidi were referring to, among others, a Facebook page titled “Sarawak Goes For Referendum”, which carried a posting in reaction to a photo with the caption “Take back our country”.

However, the Muslim side is also stoking up the fire on the web.

On January 30, a police report was lodged in Sabah over a Facebook page set up by “Semenanjung Malaysia Anti Sabah and Sarawak” which mocked Christianity and East Malaysians. Photographs mocking Christianity, including one of a frog nailed to a cross, had angered many Sabahans and Sarawakians.

 

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