No room for unruly behaviour in Sarawak


THE ruckus that happened at the Sarawak Court Complex in state capital Kuching on Tuesday was quite shocking.

There was a commotion outside the court when a group of people tried to harass Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Simon Poh after the Federal Court decision on the jurisdiction of apostasy cases.

The Federal Court judges decided that cases on conversion involving Muslims and Muslim-converts were under the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court and not the civil court.

When Poh was walking out of the court after the ruling, the group started shouting at him.

Video footage showed them following him and shouting as he made his way to the car park.

Luckily, some kind-hearted people shielded him and helped him to get to the car park safely.

From the video footage, it could not be ascertained who were these aggressive and loud individuals who harassed the archbishop.

There are claims floating in cyberspace that these trouble-makers were from outside Sarawak who flew into Kuching and came to the court just to create trouble.

That would have to be probed by the police if there were any truths to these claims.

But one thing is for sure – such rowdy behaviour is un-Sarawakian in nature.

True Sarawakians are unlikely to behave in such an extreme manner.

This is the second incident of extreme behaviour over the past four months in Sarawak.

In November last year, it came as quite a surprise to most Sarawakians to hear and read about a death threat issued on cyberspace against Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg.

The incident was revealed by Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Amer Awal in Kuching and since then a youth had been arrested in Kuching.

There are claims that a certain organisation that is actively involved in the fight for Sarawakian rights may be involved in posting the threats against Abang Johari.

There are claims that this group is angry with Abang Johari and state leaders over the current impasse concerning native customary land rights.

The state assembly sitting in Kuching at that time was supposed to make a decision over the dispute between the state government and the Dayaks over communal land boundary definition.

However, the state leaders did not reach any decision at the state assembly session.

The matter will be brought forward again in the next sitting later this year.

Immediately after the state assembly sitting was adjourned, news broke about the death threat against Johari.

Issuing death threats is certainly going too far.

I cannot recall any death threats being issued before this against state leaders in the 21 years I have worked for The Star in Sarawak.

The rowdy Tuesday incident in the court compound in Kuching involving Poh was certainly another “first”.

There should not be any room for extremism in Sarawak.

Fanaticism will never accomplish anything good.

It may be attention-grabbing but it is not good for our society.

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