KOTA BELUD: (April 27) -- State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said Sabahans would not accept all forms of religious extremism, saying it might cause disharmony among the people.
He asserted that Sabah had a different culture and practiced a higher level of religious tolerance and understanding.
"All peace-loving Sabahans cannot accept religious extremism. What is happening in Peninsular Malaysia has no bearing on east Malaysia, especially Sabah. Sabah has never had problems between Muslims and christians all this while, and that should not change," he said at a meet-the-people session in Kampung Tingkurus, near here today.
Last Sunday, about 50 Taman Medan Muslim residents in Kuala Lumpur staged a protest against the Community of Praise Petaling Jaya Church for putting up a cross on its façade, claiming the act was a challenge to Islam and could influence young Muslims.
` Subsequently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak issued a statement that the police were investigating the incident and would take action under the Sedition Act and other laws if the protesters were found to have acted unlawfully.
Salleh, who is also Sabah Umno liaison deputy chief, said any attempt to bring in religious politics to Sabah was bound to fail.
"I believe Sabahans will not allow religious politics to creep into the state, known for religious harmony despite having more than 32 etnic groups.
"We have to maintain peace and harmony at all costs," he said.
He urged Sabahans not to be easily swayed by religious bigots'propaganda who were out to create religious animosity and distrust.
Expressing concern over the threat of religious extremism in the country, the former Chief Minister called on all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to unite and stand up against religious extremism.
"We are witnessing a rise in religious extremism (in Peninsular Malaysia) of late, and we hope it will not spread to Sabah," said Salleh.