A Christian tsunami at the next general election? Not likely, say political analysts, who pooh-poohed Malay rights group Perkasa for turning the country’s religious minority into a bogeyman.
Analysts said if the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) Government was sensitive to the needs of Christians, it need not worry about any threat to the survival of Malays and Islam in the country.
A bigger concern was the impact of the “Allah” ruling, said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng, adding that it touched on Christian sensitivities, especially since there was worldwide condemnation over the ruling. (more…)
WHENEVER the ‘Allah’ issue hogs the headlines, Sarawak and Sabah can also expect to be in the spotlight.
Over the past weeks, all of us must have had an overdose of ‘Allah’ – I mean the dispute over the usage of that almighty name. I find it seriously appalling how we, Malaysians, can really go overboard in our quarrels over the use of a term.
Don’t drag us into your ugliness
The Barisan Nasional government, state rulers and bigots refuse to listen and learn on the Allah issue
First God was ‘put on trial. Then came the politicising of to whom God or Allah ‘belongs’ to. And despite there being sufficient proof that shows Allah is not exclusive to the Malays, the truth has been hard to digest by zealots who continue to stake claim on ‘Allah’.
The country’s leaders and the judiciary remain adamant that only Muslims can utter the word ‘Allah’. (more…)
MP Tom Greatrex voiced his concern for the East Malaysian Christians.
Malaysia’s perceived prejudice against Christians in the country was heard in UK Parliament recently.
The mover of the debate, MP Fiona Bruce voiced her profound alarm at the increasing level of persecution of Christians in a number of Muslim countries across the world mostly due to the whipping up of religious hatred by politically motivated groups. (more…)
Charles will become ‘Head’ of the Anglican Church, but he doesn’t write the sermons or run the government at the same time!
This weekend the government religious department, Jakim, which operates out of the Prime Minister’s own office, issued a sermon to be read in all mosques condemning “liberal forces” on the internet, which it alleged were plotting to undermine Islam.
Sarawak contributes a major proportion of the cost of this bloated Prime Minister’s Department and it has to be questioned how a supposedly democratic country could have reached such a totalitarian state of affairs that even religion has been hijacked by the politicians? (more…)
Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) general secretary Reverend Dr Herman Shastri said Christian leaders at a world assemby in South Korea were concerned the Allah ruling and the inteference by the state in the decision-making process of religious groups.
Christian leaders from around the world, who congregated in South Korea last week, expressed concern over the controversial Allah ruling, saying the decision had increased religious tension in Malaysia.
Christopher Fernandez, Stan Lee
Now that the issue of restricting or prohibiting the Catholic weekly newspaper “The Herald” from using the word Allah is set to go to the apex court in the country, there are more puzzling questions that have arisen over what is seen as a “non-issue” that now threatens to disrupt and divide the fabric of the nation.
How on earth and for what good reason should this issue drag on and become a protracted crisis when it should not have erupted at all in the first place? While the home ministry has the right to impose restrictions and prohibitions on a publication if it is deemed necessary, in this event it appears to have gone overboard.
The statement by Selangor Royal Council secretary Hanafisah Jais yesterday that the use of the word Allah in the Bible and in the Bahasa Malaysia edition of the Catholic Herald be stopped immediately needs urgent clarification as it raises concern over the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.
Hanafisah is reported to have said the statement was released after the Selangor Sultan consulted the Selangor Royal Council on Monday. (more…)
Deeming it a sensitive matter, Church and Sikh leaders say they would leave it to the Federal Court to decide on the use of the word ‘Allah’.
In the wake of a royal decree banning non-Muslims from using the word ‘Allah’, Christian and Sikh religious leaders refused to be drawn into commenting on the matter.
Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) secretary Rev Hermen Shastri said he does not want to make a comment regarding the Allah issue as it was a sensitive matter.
HASBULLAH AWANG CHIK
National laureate Datuk A. Samad Said (pic) has been attending Friday prayers at Masjid India and is not bothered by the fact that the sermons are preached in Tamil. For him, not understanding them provides respite as sermons have turned too political for his liking.
Islam’s holiest day Friday is where Muslims perform a weekly communal prayer and listen to sermons to guide their life. But for the past two weeks, national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said has been attending the Friday prayers at Masjid India in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur where the sermon is preached in Tamil. (more…)
A top academician has reminded Sarawakians and members of the various Christian denominations that they are the “saviour” of the BN government in Putrajaya.
“Without your support in Sarawak, the BN government in Peninsular Malaysia would have sunk to the bottom of the sea,” said Dr Jayum Jawan Empaling, professor of politics and government at Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Sarawak has 31 seats in Parliament, of which 25 of them are held by BN. DAP has five and PKR, one. (more…)
SIS’ Marina Mahathir is initiating legal action against Isma to put the record straight as to where she stands with Comango.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) board member Marina Mahathir will be sending a letter of demand to Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) soon to retract their accusations; but she was short of revealing when the letter will be sent.
“My lawyers will be sending out letter of demand first with time frame. If they don’t comply, then we go to the next step,” she said in an email correspondence. (more…)
Southeast Asia’s Anglican Archbishop Bolly Lapok said non-Muslims need to ‘hear and see more than just a display of ad hoc benevolence by the Malaysian government’.
A high-ranking church leader has urged non-Muslims and Christians in particular “not to be silent” and reminded the government that these communities want ‘a tangible commitment’ on the assurance of freedom of religion. (more…)
The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (pic), for a second time this year has called on non-Muslims in the state to not refer to God as Allah.
Selangor Royal Council secretary Hanafisah Jais issued a statement today on behalf of the Sultan, calling on his people to adhere to Section 9 of the Non Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation against Muslims) Enactment 1988, which classifies use of certain words and expressions of Islamic origin without the state’s authority as a religious offence in the state. (more…)
Members of a church congregation. Lawyers have warned that the October 14 ruling by the Court of Appeal applies to Christians nationwide. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 13, 2013.Sarawak churches have urged Putrajaya to show more commitment to religious freedom in Sabah and Sarawak in a three-point request unveiled at a forum in Kuching today.
According to the three-point request, read by Association of Churches Sarawak chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok to more than 1,000 people at the forum, Putrajaya should: (more…)
- UNITED WE STAND: (From left) John Ha, Bolly, Steward, Dr Su, Lawrence, Ng and Ambrose.
Churches in Sarawak yesterday affirmed in front of about 1,500 forum participants their stand on the recent ban of the word ‘Allah’ in the Catholic weekly bulletin ‘The Herald’.
Association of Churches (ACS) in Sarawak chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok said the Bumiputera Church would continue to use the word ‘Allah’ as it is fundamental to all aspects of their profession and practice of the Christian faith. (more…)
An emergency motion tabled by PKR’s Penampang MP Darell Leiking for a special commission to review the 18 and 20 points agreements made with Sabah and Sarawak for the formation of Malaysia was rejected by Parliament today as it is “not urgent”.
While acknowledging that the matter is “definite”, deputy speaker Ismail Mohamed Said rejected the motion raised under Standing Order 18(1), even though a review has been overdue for 50 years.
Darell said he was perplexed by the reason Ismail gave and argued that the recent Allah ruling by the Court of Appeal, which resulted in conflicting statements from the prime minister and several of his cabinet ministers, as well as several long-standing issues, such as oil royalty, merited a review. (more…)
Christian leaders in Sabah and Sarawak have vowed to carry on using the word Allah even if it meant being prosecuted under a Home Ministry directive allowed by a court ruling.
They also accused Putrajaya of trying to mislead Christians from East Malaysia into believing that the Court of Appeal ruling was only applicable to the Catholic weekly, Herald.
They said they will speak up on this issue as this is what their respective congregations expected them to do. (more…)
The Association of Churches Sarawak has urged Putrajaya to show more commitment to recognising religious freedom in Sabah and Sarawak.
The group’s chairperson Archbishop Bolly Lapok said thus far, Putrajaya hads only displayed “ad hoc benevolence” whenever religious freedom cropped up.
“We need tangible commitments from the authorities to respect and uphold the freedom of religion, guaranteed by the federal Cconstitution as the supreme law of the nation,” Lapok said in a statement today. (more…)
PAS has demanded that Putrajaya apologise to Muslims for creating an issue over the use of the word Allah by Christians in Malaysia.
PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said statements by government officials have only increased religious tension in the country, following the Court of Appeal’s ruling on October 14 upholding the Home Ministry’s ban on the use of the word Allah by Catholic weekly, Herald.
Mahfuz also took umbrage on the way Putrajaya attempted to blame PAS by claiming that the Islamic party supported the non-Muslims’ demand to use the word. (more…)
Cecilia Jeyanthi Victor
Insensitive religious remarks made in the last few months have reignited racial hatred and threatened to tear apart the fabric of national unity.
Why is the government keeping silent over the actions of the Islamic extremist groups that could harm the feelings of the different races?
Academic and political scientist Dr Chandra Muzaffar believed the government was not keeping silent nor was it encouraging NGOs such as Perkasa and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) to cast racial slurs at a time when the country’s peace is tested over the “Allah” controversy. (more…)
The Catholic Church has filed an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court the decision of the Court of Appeal which had allowed the government’s appeal to ban its weekly publication The Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God.
Benjamin Dawson, one of the counsels representing the church, said they had filed the application at the Federal Court registry yesterday.
“The church has raised 26 questions of law in the leave application to appeal to the Federal Court,” he told Bernama when contacted today. (more…)
Yes, you - Malaysiakini - and my column formerly known as ILLUMINATIONS when I started writing back in February 2006; the date I chose was the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. That’s what I am missing.
My last column was dated June 6, 2013 and that is considered a long time ago to be away from something I cherish. I am back and will be contributing regularly in 2014, I hope and as I plan to.
Yes, I have busy completing three books in the last nine months, namely ‘Thesis on Cyberjaya’, from my dissertation on nations and cybernetic change (published 2012), ‘The Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity’ (published 2013) and the latest ‘Dark Spring: Essays on the Ideological Roots of GE13′ (published 2013). (more…)
Despite government assurances, the Advocates Association of Sarawak has insisted that the Court of Appeal judgment on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by a Christian publication will affect Sabah and Sarawak.
Its president Khairil Azmi Mohamad Hasbie said this is because the government’s assurance is not an “actual legal position” as the judgment does not differentiate between Christians in the peninsula and in Sabah and Sarawak.
“The common finding of the Court of Appeal that the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity, and that such usage if allowed will inevitably cause confusion within the community, is not stated to be confined to the Christian community only in peninsula Malaysia… (more…)
Francis Paul Siah
I have received several emails in response to my article “DAP’s internal strife big slap on Lim’s face” published in this column last week.
I’m always happy to receive reactions to what I’ve written even if they come in the form of rebuttal, disagreement or criticism. Columnists must be able to appreciate that they have a forum to write and share their views and thoughts on issues close to their heart. Many others do not have such an opportunity. However, many news portals, theantdaily included, have now introduced the Comment Section to give readers a similar platform. This is a move in the right direction as public participation in issues brought up by the media should be encouraged. (more…)
Rev Father Lawrence Andrew rejects allegations that the Catholic Church uses the Malay language to spread Christianity among Muslims. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 7, 2013.The editor of the Catholic Herald has one question for two of the most powerful Malay-Muslim personalities in the country: was there pressure on them to convert to Christianity just because they studied in Catholic schools?
Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew posed this question in an interview with Projek Dialog, an online social website. (more…)
Sin Chew Daily
The BN has not only successfully reduced the majority votes of PAS in the Sungai Limau by-election, but the result also showed that 70% of Chinese votes have returned to the BN, even more than the expected 45%. It was a morale booster for the BN and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak also said that the result was encouraging.
During the general election in May this year, despite the BN had offered various friendly policies to the Chinese community, it did not receive the expected support rate but this time, it finally got a positive return. Of course, a by-election result reflected only the voting trend of the constituency instead of the Chinese community as a whole. After all, there were only 1,837 Chinese votes in Sungai Limau. (more…)
Recently, the 2014 Budget has been the subject of Friday sermons by mosques controlled by the government. The khatibs (speakers) and Imams who gave the sermons told their congregation that GST is good for the community.
They also told that Najib has presented a budget that truly places the interest of the nation ahead of others. The Houses of God have now become mouthpieces of the government. The Umno people must think that Allah is an Umno member! (more…)
“We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” Republican House speaker John A Boehner said on Oct 16 after the US Congress voted to end the government shutdown.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in declaring the end of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, said, “Australians do not fight wars of conquest, we fight wars of freedom” (Oct 29, The Australian).
‘We didn’t win’ certainly sounds more dignified than ‘We lost’. ‘Wars of freedom’ sounds less hegemonic than ‘wars of conquest’. (more…)
If Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud can sound like the voice of reason, then it is clear that Umno-Baru is in terminal decline.
When the verdict on the Allah word issue was announced last month, Taib’s speech resonated with many Malaysians when he said, “To us (Sarawakians) there is no issue. We have lived with people of different races and different religions for many decades, even before Malaysia.”
Taib is a shrewd politician who has the benefit of age and experience. He appears to be more in touch with his grassroots supporters, unlike Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who panders to extremists. (more…)
Ng Kam Weng
Following the Court of Appeal judgment, the Prime Minister assures Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the judgment only bans the Catholic Herald from using the Allah word. A few cabinet ministers suggest the 10-Point agreement continues to allow these Christians to use the Christian al Kitab notwithstanding the Allah word.
The PM’s assurance sounds feeble, wishful and arguably misleading when the Appeal Court judgment prohibits the Christian community from using the Allah word on grounds that the word is not integral to Christian faith, that any religious practice must be circumscribed or limited by Islamic sensitivity, and finally, that the prohibition is necessary for national security. (more…)
It was a show of religious harmony by Christians and Muslims in Sarawak yesterday even as the debate over the October 14 court ruling on the word Allah raged on.
The Borneo Post reported that non-governmental organisation Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak and the Islamic Information Centre organised a forum called “Tweeting Up Unity: Social Cohesion Through Social Media”, under the Soul2Soul 2.0 interfaith forum series, at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre in Kuching.
The event’s keynote speaker was social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, who was also a panellist. It was attended by over 200 youths from higher learning institutions and government agencies. (more…)
The name of God is like desire. If someone has a bad case of Horny, demanding that he becomes a purity angel will only make him grow horns. Try to tell people they’re not allowed to love in a certain manner and you may as well try to put out a fire by drowsing it with Ron 95. Police the erotic and you’ll end up eroticizing the policing.
Isn’t this why virtually all attempts to stamp out the gay “problem” tend to back-fire? If you judge my sex you’ll not only generate more heat than light, you’ll get me and my partner in heat faster than you can say LGBTQ.
On the Sunday right after the Court of Appeal’s unappealing decision on October 14, most non-Malay speaking churches in PJ/KL proudly defied the law and used the word ‘Allah’ for (probably) the first time in their worship services. (more…)
Najib addresses the World Islamic Economic Forum in London on October 29, 2013. – Reuters file pic, November 1, 2013.Once again, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has chosen to open up on a touchy subject in Malaysia while travelling abroad, defending the court ruling which effectively banned Christians here from using the word Allah.
He said that the curb against the Catholic weekly, Herald, using the word Allah was necessary to protect public security and national harmony, going as far to describe the Herald as a publication with wide circulation.
The Herald publishes 14,000 copies every week and all are sold within the confines of churches. (more…)
As Christians, we often say, “do not follow other Christians”, just learn to follow Jesus Christ; which is the reason we are called Christian. In the book, ‘The Knights Templar & the Protestant Reformation’, it states that when Stanley Jones, a missionary, met Mahatma Gandhi he asked him:
Mr Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?
Gandhi replied: Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ. (more…)
J. D. Lovrenciear
It is definitely set that the “Allah” issue is not going to cross the horizon for as long as it remains as a deeply entrenched political game plan and has to be meddled through political interventions.
Hence, it is quite understandable why all the confusing and forked statements keep gushing from different corners within the UMNO-BN power house on who can and who cannot use the “Allah” word and when and where.
One minute they say it is binding on all non-Muslim religions. Another minute they blurt “contempt of court” hollering threats. (more…)
- PM Najib’s move to sideline the Chinese community in his budget only shows that he is not interested in the process of national reconciliation. It looks more like national retaliation.
After the 13th general election, the Chinese have been scolded for voting Pakatan Rakyat . Now it is the turn for Budget 2014 to victimise the Chinese.
It is nothing unusual. All the 25 Chinese interviewed by this columnist had expected this.
Last year, RM100 million each was specially allocated to the Chinese schools and the Tamil schools – the announcement for this allocation was made in the same sentence by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. (more…)
Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing said that perhaps the time has arrived to put syariah law to a referendum among Muslims in Malaysia.
“Let’s face it, this question of the imposition of the syariah won’t go away and so I propose that it be put to a referendum among Muslims to see if they wanted it imposed on them,” commented the head of the Catholic Church in the Melaka-Johor diocese.
Bishop Paul Tan emphasised that he was speaking in his own capacity and not for others, be they Christians or people of other faiths. (more…)
Christians form the majority of Sabah and Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 30, 2013.Law enforcement agencies must prosecute Christians who attempt to proselytize Muslims but the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) is totally against Putrajaya banning the word Allah from being used for religious instructions to Christians.
SIB Sabah president Reverend Datuk Jeffrey W. A. Dusing said there were many laws in the country which can be used to act against the minority who attempt to convert Muslims, but “the majority of Christians should not be punished”. (more…)
Sabah Law Association
The Sabah Law Association (SLA) categorically denies that a decision was made on October 26, 2013 at the executive committee meeting to “stand side by side with the Catholic Church when the Allah case goes before the Federal Court” as was reported in The Malaysian Insider website.
The SLA does, however, take cognisance of the materiality, serious significance and sensitivity of the matter by all parties concerned.
There are clearly far-reaching consequences of the Court of Appeal decision vis-a-vis the relevant Articles of the Federal Constitution and the 1963 Malaysian Agreement. (more…)
Raja Ahmad Shahrir
- Are we to just sit back and go back to business as usual, with the frame of mind that all these plans tabled last Friday will bolster the economy as it said it would?
As expected, Budget 2014 included the GST implementation, reduction of subsidy (one item now but more in the near future), and allocations to boost the economy, all within the Prime Minister’s “five thrust” framework, with the hope of improving the fiscal deficit.
From a planning perspective, I believe that the budget contains steps needed to grow and enhance the economy through the development of basic infrastructure, enhancing human capital development by focusing on the right sets of skills and knowledge, boosting economic activity to increase domestic and foreign investments and restructuring the tax system to enhance revenue. However, this is the same general view, year in, year out. (more…)
Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz
- Unlike any other Chief Minister or Menteri Besar, Taib Mahmud has the mental disposition to disassociate himself and his party PBB from Umno’s machinations.
Umno president Najib Tun Razak and his brand of politics has no place in Sarawak and the Chief Minister made that pretty clear recently.
Although Taib Mahmud invited Najib to officiate the Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) congress assembly recently, he didn’t waste any time in giving Najib a few lessons in mature politics. (more…)
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Joseph Kurup are among cabinet members who say Christians could use Allah in their worship. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 29, 2013.Let the debate end. Non-Muslims in Malaysia cannot use the word Allah, say constitutional lawyers.
The reason: the Court of Appeal decision which states that the word Allah is exclusive to Muslims overrides the Cabinet’s 10-point solution made in 2011 which allowed that bibles in all languages can
be imported into the country, including those in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia. (more…)
The government has a chance to clear the air over the usage of the word ‘Allah’ by Christians in a High Court case that will be heard tomorrow, the Sidang Injil Borneo Church said.
By making a declaration on the right of the church to use the word ‘Allah’, SIB president Jerry WA Dusing said the government would be able to show its “good faith” in upholding the rights of bumiputera Christians.
This should be the case for all Bahasa Malaysia-speaking bumiputera Christians, Dusing said, regardless of whether they are residing in Sabah, Sarawak or in the peninsula. (more…)