Group accuses Christmas protesters in Tawau of incitement

People admire Christmas decorations at Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur November 25, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
People admire Christmas decorations at Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur November 25, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 7 — A non-government organisation urged the police today to investigate those protesting the recent Christmas celebration in Tawau for threatening intercommunal peace.

Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) vice president Paul Kadau lodged a police report here today against Wahyu Ilahi Management (WIM), which was among those who filed a complaint against the celebrations in Tawau on December 31.

“We want to know what they meant by ‘objecting vehemently. Does it mean no Christmas celebrations in coming years?” he said to reporters at the city police headquarters in Karamunsing here.

“Their statement can trigger racial and religious tension in Sabah and Malaysia. I ask the police to investigate the person — Mohd Ilyas Rahim Rugain — who lodged the report,” Kadau said, adding what WIM did was tantamount to sedition.

He also said that WIM was not registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) and urged action to be taken against them over this as well.

Kadau said he was “giving” WIM 14 days to retract their report to the police and issue an open apology, failing which he would take legal actions against them.

“We will give them a chance to rectify the situation or else we will consider taking legal action,” he said.

Kadau said APS took to heart WIM’s statement that such celebrations should not be held in open areas and called it unacceptable in a multiracial and cultural society like Sabah.

“There are groups from Malaya that come here to poison the unity among Sabahans. The government should execute its duties to stem such extremist groups before such incidents spread to other districts.

“We want to live in peace and harmony, but this group has disappointed us with such provocations,” he said.

On January 1, it was reported that a group of people claiming to represent the Tawau and Kalanakan district political parties like Warisan, PAS, Umno and PKR were against the Tawau Christmas carnival which they claimed had elements of proselytism due to the Christmas carols and speech by a Christian bishop.

The action received widespread criticism, and representatives from PKR, Warisan and Umno denied their involvement. The PAS representative later apologised for the statement, saying they were acting on complaints and also claimed it was a technical issue that included other political parties in the protest.

Parti Cinta Sabah had also lodged a report against PAS and several NGOs for objecting to Christian celebrations in the state.

Kadau also urged the political parties who denied their involvement in the objections to lodge police reports.

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