KOTA KINABALU, July 22 ― Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Madius Tangau’s recent Facebook post on the mass conversion of villagers in Tambunan nearly 40 years ago has the state’s Umno Youth seeing red.
The Opposition party wing’s chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain said Tangau’s remarks were unbecoming of his position as a senior state Cabinet member and smacked of sedition.
“He is not supposed to say such things that could incite anger or hurt. There is no evidence or basis for his statement, and it was over 38 years ago in 1981,” Abdul Aziz told Malay Mail today.
“As a deputy chief minister, an MP, he is in a position of influence. Anything coming out of his mouth can be misconstrued and dangerous, so he should be more careful,” he added.
Abdul Aziz said that representatives from Sabah Umno youth wing, PAS youth, United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) and other non-governmental organisations are expected to lodge a police report at 2pm today.
“We want police to investigate and arrest him for making such comments that could disrupt unity in our country,” 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.
“In comparison, today, the Muslim chief minister comes to Tambunan not to persuade anyone to convert but to give an allocation of RM1 million to upgrade churches here. We are grateful for and pray that his spirit of unity, respect and tolerance continues on our beloved land,” he said.
Abdul Aziz said that Tangau had no evidence to support such claims of mass Islamisation.
“38 years ago in 1981, Sabah was under Tan Sri Harris Salleh. I thought he may be referring to Tun Mustapha Mohamad, but we don’t know. There is no evidence, nothing at all, and that is very dangerous,” he said.
Tun Mustapha Mohamad was Sabah’s first governor in 1963 to 1965 and also chief minister from 1967 to 1975 and was known to have propagated Islam during his tenure, believing that unity can be achieved through common language and religion.
It was reported that around 75,000 non-Muslim Sabahans had been converted to Islam in 1974 and 20,000 more by 1975.
Harris was chief minister after that from 1976 to 1985.
Tangau, when contacted said that the group was welcome to make a police report 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.