Groups lodge police report against Tangau for Facebook post on mass Islamisation 38 years ago in Sabah

Julia Chan
Abdul Aziz Julkarnain (5th left) with Musli Oli (4th left) and Zulzaim Abidin (3rd left) at the police station after lodging a police report July 22, 2019. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, June 22 — Several groups comprising political parties and non-governmental organisations have lodged against Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Madius Tangau for a Facebook post where he claimed a mass conversion to Islam took place some 40 years ago.

The groups comprised Sabah Umno Youth and PAS Youth from divisions all over the state, and organisations such as Suara Masyarakat Sabah (SMS), Malaysian Islamic Propagation and Welfare Organisation (Pekida) and Persatuan Prihatin Sahabat Sabah among others.

Sabah Umno Youth chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain said Tangau’s statement was irresponsible given his position in the state and can incite sentiments of distrust, disunity and hurt among Sabahans who are generally tolerant.

“I’m making this report because I believe he is intentionally doing this to incite sentiments between races,” he said when met at the Karamunsing police station here.

“I’ve also called on other Umno divisions to make a police report,” he said, adding that several divisions like Putatan, Penampang and Libaran had agreed to it.

He said that Tangau had no basis or evidence to claim such things and wanted police to investigate his comments for sedition.

Tangau had written a post on Facebook yesterday claiming the Sabah government had organised the mass Islamisation of Tambunan residents 38 years ago, forcing its non-Muslim community to convert if they wanted to have land or jobs.

Also present was Sabah PAS Youth chief Zulzaim Abidin and Suara Masyarakat Sabah chairman Musli Oli.

Musli said he was reporting the matter to the police for action because it was unbecoming of Tangau’s stature.

“As a political leader, making these kind of accusations can create tension, unless you have proof. But even if you have proof, is it necessary to say it? It happened 40 years ago. How would people feel?

“How would the family of those who converted feel? If you were a cyber-trooper saying such things, maybe that’s acceptable, but as a political leader, your words carry more weight,” he said.

Yesterday, Tangau posted on his official Facebook account that a Sabah government leader had gone to Tambunan 38 years ago and held a mass Islamisation ceremony, forcing many to convert by threats and dangling carrots of jobs and land titles.

He was comparing the leader then, who he did not name, to current chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who had just visited the district and gave an RM1 million allocation to upgrade churches in the area, and called for peace, tolerance and respect between races and religion to continue.

When contacted, Tangau said that lodging the police report was their right and everybody was entitled to an opinion.

“As I said this is a free country. Let there be greater awareness on this issue. Let there be no more such incident now and in the future,” he said.

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