Stop classifying Bumi Christians as Muslims, Sabah church tells NRD

File picture shows Datuk Jerry Dusing, President of the Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
File picture shows Datuk Jerry Dusing, President of the Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — A Sabah church called on the National Registration Department (NRD) today to rectify the problem of Bumiputera Christians with “bin” or “binti” in their names being wrongly classified as Muslims in their MyKads.

Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah president Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing said the church lodged a complaint with NRD two years ago for 162 such cases in Sabah, but was told that no further action could be taken because the files were lost.

“The JPN must desist from this Islamisation drive through changing the religious status in the MyKad of these Christians,” Dusing said in a statement today, using the Malay acronym for the NRD.

“We also wish to call on the authorities to rein in aggressive Islamisation in Sabah by overzealous ‘dakwah’ (evangelistic) elements from the peninsula through conversion by dubious means such as intimidation, inducement and deception,” he added.

Dusing said the wrong classification of Christians as Muslims in their MyKads has prevented them from getting married legally, which in turn prevented the registration of the birth of their children, as well as the children’s registration in schools and applications for their own identity cards.

“They have also been told by JPN that the department would only rectify their religious status if they went to the Shariah Court to get a declaration that they are not Muslims. It is most ludicrous to subject Christians to the dictates of the Shariah Court,” he said.

Dusing stressed on Sabahans’ right to freedom of religion that Sabah Catholic Archbishop John Wong had raised at the mamangkis gathering organised by the Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) Sabah in Papar last Saturday.

“As we prepare to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the formation of Malaysia on 16 September, we wish to remind the government that the cornerstone of Sabah’s 20-point conditions to the Malaysia Agreement is anchored on freedom of religion,” he said.

News reports surfaced last January of Borneo natives being coerced and duped into embracing Islam, leading Christian group PAN Sabah to accuse Muslim extremists from the peninsula of oppressing Bumiputera Christians in the East Malaysian state.

In the so-called Project IC, which was investigated by a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) probing Sabah’s massive illegal immigrant problem, Muslim foreigners were purportedly given citizenship in exchange for their votes in order to keep the ruling government in power.

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