KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today stressed that the size of a party that has become a partner in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is not important but what is more valued is the loyalty and commitment of the component parties to the BN.
Najib, who is also BN chairman, said it was because of this principle, which the coalition had upheld all along, that enabled the BN to continue to be in power irrespective of whether times were good or difficult.
“I as the BN chairman do not see too much into the size of the party. To me size doesn’t matter, what matters is your loyalty and commitment. It is on this principle that country was able to move forward. We have succeeded because we have been able to capitalise when the going was good as well as ride out the
storms. But the BN must continue to prove that it is the party that the people can depend on to look after the interests of all the people, irrespective of ethnicity or religion. The BN umbrella is inclusive and comprehensive,” he said.
Najib said this when opening Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah’s (PBRS) Triennial General Meeting here today. Also present were Sabah Chief Minister and Sabah BN chairman Datuk Seri Musa Aman and PBRS president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.
“I, as Chairman of BN adhere to the principle that I must be fair to all BN component parties and to be fair to all people, whether in urban or rural areas, poor or well off, or whether they are Bumiputera or non-Bumiputera, or non-Muslim Bumiputera, even though they are a minority” said Najib.
For example, he said, the government decided to eliminate the ‘Others’ column in official government forms because the indigenous groups in Sabah and Sarawak did not like to be categorised so.
On concerns of Christians in Sabah about conversion to another religion, Najib clarified that there was no government policy that could force anyone to embrace Islam, and Islam itself did not force others to embrace the religion.
“And from the government’s point of view, we hold the principle that there is no compulsion in Islam. In Islam itself there is a verse that says ‘No compulsion in Islam. To you, your religon, and to me, my religion’. This means there is no compulsion in Islam. If he or she wants convert to Islam yes, but
there is no compulsion in Islam,” he said.
Najib gave assurances that the government would continue to adhere to the principle and in the event such coercion occurred, it would be purely an act of the certain individual, and that the affected parties could complain to the authorities.-BERNAMA