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Pandikar issues dare
Published on: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Tan Sri Pandikar Amin (pic) has challenged political leaders who claim to be championing Sabah rights in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to prove their sincerity rather than embark on political rhetoric.

The Dewan Rakyat Speaker questioned whether the leaders of Warisan, Star, etc, would amend Article 5A in the Sabah Constitution in which Islam will no more be an official religion in Sabah, if the opposition ruled the State.

The said amendment which changed the status from one of no official religion to that of Islam as the official religion was made during the Usno era and the motion by late Tun Said Keruak even saw no opposition in the State Assembly, including from non-Muslim members like Tan Sri Herman Luping and late Datuk Peter Mojuntin.

Pandikar said he issued the challenge based on public knowledge that before 1976, Sabah had no official religion which was line with what had been agreed in the MA63.

However, he said Sabah that was led then by Usno had changed that by amending Sabah's Constitution and included a new article named as Article 5A that provided a provision that Islam is the official religion of Sabah.

"I am issuing this challenge because they have wrongly interpreted the history of independence, the formation of Malaysia and the related provisions just to fit their taste and respective political agenda," he said, referring to Members of Parliament Darell Leiking (Warisan), Stephen Chan (DAP) and Assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (USA-Star) who all accused Pandikar of twisting the facts on the formation.

"Before, I answer the statement by Leiking who is also Parti Warisan Sabah Deputy President as published in the local papers, I want him to state clearly whether Warisan will amend Article 5A so that Islam will not be the official religion of Sabah, if the party rules Sabah?," he said.

He said he was issuing the challenge in his capacity as a Sabahan and not as the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat because the issue is one of grave concern.

"Those who are capitalising on the issue and made a statement on the pretext based on what the Sabah people want and need, are making opinions as if all Sabahans agreed with what they are saying.

"Because of these quarters who are anxious to uphold the Sabah rights as supposedly agreed in the MA63, I am challenging them to prove their sincerity in their struggle to the people of Sabah," he said.

Pandikar had said that the issue of Sabah and Sarawak rights which were claimed to be eroded or ignored by Kuala Lumpur were widely debated by those who have political agendas and political mileage to achieve.

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