Hornbill Unleashed

December 15, 2013

‘Allah’ banner not allowed at Kuching Christian meet

Dukau Papau

A banner bearing the word ‘Allah’ was asked by police to be brought down at a gathering of some 6,000 Iban Christians at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on Friday.

“The participants were surprised. We were embarrassed,” said Patrick Sibat organising secretary of the gathering which was put together by the Gempuru Besai Kristian Jaku Iban (GBKJI).

He added that they complied with the directive as it came, according to the police, ‘from the top’.

“It was even more embarrassing for us when observers from Christian natives groups from Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, India, Mongolia and Taiwan witnessed the whole thing”, he said.

They were in Kuching at the invitation of the Gempuru Besai Kristian Jaku Iban for the three-day gathering which began last Thursday.

Representatives of various Christian denominations and all the ethnic tribes in Sarawak also took part.

“The incident created a very bad image and sent a wrong message to those who came from other parts of the world, especially when we talked of full religious freedom as guaranteed in the ‘special safeguards’ included in the 18-point Malaysia Agreement,” continued Patrick.

“On one hand the prime minister assures of religious freedom in Sarawak, and on the other the police came and asked us to bring down the banner because it has the word ‘Allah’.

However. despite the police ‘advice’, they put up the banner again the next day, he said.

The Court of Appeal in October had ruled that the word Allah could not be used by the Catholic Church weekly, The Herald, as ‘Allah’ was not integral to the practice of the Christian faith and that the use of the word would also confuse the Muslims.

The ruling caused alarm and confusion among the Christians in Sarawak and Sabah, so much so that Najib and other federal leaders had to give their assurances that the ruling did not apply to the two states.

Full religious freedom

Meanwhile, in their five-point declaration, the GBKJI reminded Kuala Lumpur to honour its promise for full religious freedom made to the Iban in discussions with members of the Cobbold Commission of Inquiry for the formation of Malaysia more than 50 years ago.

“When the federation of Malaysia was proposed in 1961, our forefathers initially expressed grave reservations on various issues relating to the well-being of our people under Malaysian rule, including freedom of religion,” the GBKJI said in a statement.

“The final decision to support the formation of Malaysia by the Iban tribe was made based heavily on the agreed ‘special safeguards’ or ’18-point agreement’ accorded to the people of Sarawak and contained in the Malaysia Agreement and the federal constitution,” it added.

About 75 percent of the Iban in 1962 agreed to Sarawak joining Malaya, Sabah and Singapore for the formation of Malaysia based on the ‘special safeguards’, according to the statement.

The Christian Iban form about 52.6 percent of the total Christian population in the State, according to the 2010 population census.

They first embraced Christianity 122 years ago at the time of James Brooke.

Meanwhile, the three-day gathering ended with a mass Sunday service at the BCCK with more than 9,000 Christians in attendance.


  1. Agi Idup Agi Ngalaban is not only a war cry. It is our determination to achieve success throughout while we are are living. Do not ever assume we dayak are only good at getting drunk and intoxicated. In our every life this slogan is a part of our ritual to lift our life to a higher level of achievement.

    Comment by in reality — December 17, 2013 @ 8:12 PM | Reply

    • That slogan Agi Idup Agi Ngalaban is a universal battle-cry. The Ibans coined it but they have not fully imbibe it, i.e. practised it when they should. The Rengers used it, Pandelea Rinong, a Bidayuh practised it, and the Melanaus have fully practised it with success albeit their small population. Thus it should not be merely a battle-cry but a way of life for anyone to succeed in life. The Ibans are a progressive society and a majority race in Sarawak but they still have a lot to catch up. I know many Ibans who do not take alcohol and indulge in cock-fighting. They could progress on par with others if they truly live the famous slogan. The slogan could be a guiding light but this modern world is not merely fighting and struggling but learning from others and willing to change oneself if it benefit your health, wealth and knowledge.

      Comment by I am Right — December 17, 2013 @ 9:58 PM | Reply

  2. The overwhelming responses to this topic, is an explicit indication of our love,concern and unity for our faith. Eventhough, we may have different opinions and voices, it is a good sign that we are practicing freedom of expression and speech in our religion. God gives us the freedom of choice. We are speaking out loud this time because there are signs that some people naughty and sinister are going too near or over the line of our limit. They are testing the water. We MUST respond with the wisdom of God, timely and precisely, whenever a threat is posed, otherwise we will be like the frog in the boiling pot. Beware and on guard, predator is seaching for its ignorant preys.
    Set aside our differences and be united under the banner of the almighty Allah Taala. Victory is ours, when walk in the path of the Lord, eventhough sometimes the goings are tough. When the Lord is with us, who are they to oppose us.

    Comment by owl — December 17, 2013 @ 1:26 PM | Reply

  3. Don’t tell me 7,000 God given brains cannot determined the most appropriate location to erect the banner in the first place and 7,000 brains decided to erect the banner at a location most place likely to cause accident. In a game of chess before the game starts we have already lost the objective. Our forefathers were once proud panglima but now a day we cowed at the intimidation from an extreme force. If we continue to provide recipes for our weakness we are doomed as proud natives who once fought bravely out from the jungles of Borneo.
    Nyakyah kita !

    Comment by in reality — December 17, 2013 @ 1:09 PM | Reply

    • And are you telling me that the organisers should have asked the opinions of the 7,000 people who attended for the location of the Banner before those 7,000 even decide to attend. Tell me, just how do you think the organisers could do that when they didn’t even know who were the 7,000 coming out of a millions Christians in the state? The banner was erected before the start of the event by the hard working organisers. Perhaps they should have asked your opinion, right?

      For the organisers, it was the most strategic location at that time, which can be clearly sighted by road users but to the police, it was a traffic hazard. So were organisers wrong to put innocent road users safety first before dwelling on past glories of our forefathers as proud panglima which are history now?

      Wouldn’t you agree with me that our once intimidating war cry of “Agi Idup Agi Ngalaban” is only good and uttered bravely when we are drunk and intoxicated nowadays.

      Comment by brian — December 17, 2013 @ 4:49 PM | Reply

  4. That the problems of us being a Christian to put ourselves in gloomy perspective to be doomed soon as mentioned by our commenters. This is a literary way to understand the bible. We are all by deluded by the promises of blessing and intervention of the divine. Isn’t we ourselves endowed by the wisdom of the past and the learning of today who decide on the path to freedom and happiness. If we allow this doomsday to be injected into our brains that it nothing will works but to allow evils to flourish in our society.

    Comment by in reality — December 17, 2013 @ 10:52 AM | Reply

  5. I think MataKuching gave the most realistic opinions on this issue. He did not mince his words. If Sarawak Christians of this century need to progress there should be ONE agenda This agenda must be steadfastly held without any comprises. This is just my opinion. But the Christian convention saw it all. This is not achievable. Where did they put the banner at last ? In some closet or what ?

    Comment by in reality — December 17, 2013 @ 9:44 AM | Reply

  6. When the organizers has erected the banner I am sure they have use their God given wisdom where to put it. The organizers need not have to heed the directive from any authorities because as some body have said their decision was based on the authority of divine Allah. There is no dignity when the organizers have decided to remove the banner and placed it elsewhere. Let the authority removed on your behalf. Then the participants should gather in the hall praying hard for divine intervention. Need not have to use physical force because we are wise enough as Christians as somebody put it. So tell me what is the aim of this convention ? Am I so foolish not to understanding the underlying purpose of organizing this convention. All of us have read issue of the word Allah. If that was not the aim, then holding our regular prayers in villages and churches in the city are equally spiritual.

    Comment by in reality — December 17, 2013 @ 9:20 AM | Reply

    • They obediently removed the Banner from its original place because the police said it is too close to the road and a hazard to road users. If the police reason was true, would anybody here dare take the responsibility if an innocent road user met with an accident caused by the Banner?

      What was the underlying purpose of this peaceful gathering as you understand it? Was the underlying purpose of the gathering was for someone who did not mince their word and call people names like pussies and pondans because a banner was taken down and moved somewhere else? Was the underlying purpose as you seem to see it, was for those attendees to throw chairs and wrecked the Hall in protest because the police asked the organisers to remove a banner and place it somewhere else, just to show that there is a unity of purpose, to stand your ground come what may? Then what if the banner was really a hazard to innocent road users?

      The underlying purpose of the gathering of 7 thousands Christians in one place was to send a serious,clear and undivided message to those in authority including the Christians and Dayak ministers and elected representatives that we are united with one voice against the infringement by the gov’t of our religious rights and freedom to call god whom ever we want to call him!

      And the message was heard loud and clear and that’s probably the true reason why the order was given to take down the banner in the first place, nothing to do with pussies and pondans!

      Comment by brian — December 17, 2013 @ 12:31 PM | Reply

  7. Violence breeds more violence. Look at some of the Arab and Muslim countries, the people fight and kill one another, despite of the fact that they are professing the same faith. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, wasn’t,isn’t and will never be the solution to the wars and conflicts in the world. No show of drastic and strong reaction to the order of putting down the banner does not mean the Christians are meek and weak. Instead it’s telling world, they are different from those who would react to petty matters with violence and killings. They are law abiding citizens and good believers of their faith The Christians will speak and react when they reach the line of limit, with the might and power of God.They are united in the Lord, who will be the Judge in the Judgement Day. Let the LOVE of Jesus Christ,heals the wounds in human hearts. As the Bible says, ” For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only be gotten Son, so whoever believe in Him will have eternal life”. Merry Christmas to whose who have been visiting and sharing in the Hornbillunleashed. May the peace of God be upon you and your family always.

    Comment by owl — December 16, 2013 @ 11:11 PM | Reply

  8. Brian, have you read the rest of the comments. These contributors did not mince their words. Act like them. They have something gutsy in between their legs. We nicknamed them as B….There is no compromise to the issue of freedom to one’s faith. No one can dictate or legislate our moral direction. You seemed to live in the era when Samson brought down the pillars of the building in the biblical story. We should exercise the freedom of thoughts. Life, freedom and pursuit of happiness must be our new focus. Align yourself to the critical thought society. Miracles and divine intervention are written in the scriptures. Our own destiny and the society we live in must be written by ourselves. Quill was a writing tool of the past. People these days just wand across their smart phones and ipads with their hands. Even Sheaffers and Parkers pens are just souvenir now. Merry Christmas to you.

    Comment by Cannot afforded to be deluded. — December 16, 2013 @ 4:33 PM | Reply

    • Calling people pussies and pondans are not mincing words rather it is demeaning thousands of people who gathered for a peaceful congregation in support of a cause. Didn’t you read the reason given by the organisers why the relent and moved the banner somewhere else?

      They were not there to cause riots, to protest violently, to shout and curse at the authority. They were they to pray, to congregate peacefully and to strengthen their faith in defence of their religious right to use the WORD ALLAH. It was not a political gathering where they can mock, shout, curse, call people derogatory names like PERKASA, ISMA, PKR, BN people do.

      Look at the purpose of the gathering. The thousands who attended did not turned violence and unruly when challenged and provoked. They were not there to be brainwashed with a political message of dissent, street protest where they can be beaten, kicked and drag to prison. Was that the outcome you wanted from a gathering of thousands of Christians who came just to pray?

      Surely you will not expect us to react like followers of other religions do after their Friday prayers! You are the one living in the past where violence and bloody protest is the only means to overcome challenges.

      Maybe if it was a street protest like what Anwar Ibrahim is good at then by all means do not mince your word towards whom ever you dislike and despise.

      To call people who gathered peacefully without any intention to retaliate with violence behaviour is way out of line!

      Comment by brian — December 17, 2013 @ 9:11 AM | Reply

  9. Only religious deluded persons still think when they heed to the directive to remove the banner acted according to authority of DIVINE. The reality of this event is to strengthen Christian stands to the malicious intention of certain quarter. Christian must act according to their best judgement and wisdom BUT not to cow to intimidation from others. Christians must author their own destiny and not to the tune of political masters. 21st. century Christians must think critically if they need to progress with the time. Enslaving your thought with divine intervention will only bring us back to the time when the desert bush can speak to man or the sea open up to save the Israelites. I am not so sure if that miracle can work today.

    Comment by piss off guy — December 16, 2013 @ 3:49 PM | Reply

  10. Is this the same Patrick Sibat who ruined Baram people’s chance for change in GE13??

    Comment by PelawanAnteeDAM — December 16, 2013 @ 12:02 PM | Reply

  11. INILAH AKIBATNYA APABILA KITA DIPERINTAH OLEH KERAJAAN YANG DIPIMPIN OLEH MEREKA YANG MEMPUNYAI LIDAH SEPERTI BIAWAK – “LIDAH BERCABANG”. But as Christians we do not care much because we believe and have great faith in our God who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. His name is “Jesus” to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that HE IS GOD – (ALLAH).

    Comment by Aman Ali — December 16, 2013 @ 11:46 AM | Reply

  12. In the book of James chapter 1, it is considered a privilege when you are tempted. As christian we are taught that temptation is from satan and not Allah Taala. In the book of Mathew chapter 4, it is said that the devil tempted our Lord Jesus Christ after he fasted for 40 days and night. The same thing happened at the GBRK jaku Iban, the organisers and participants were tempted but Allah gave the wisdom not to create scene but to obey the law of the land. I praise Allah Taala forever and ever. Life is not going to be easy for the christian as we are living in the end time as the fulfilment of the bible is taking place, so brothers and sisters in christ be prepared for good times and bad times. We need to carry the cross to be followes of christ. Puji Allah Taala.

    Comment by Sarikeian — December 16, 2013 @ 11:16 AM | Reply

  13. Allah already writen 2000 bc in Bibble before all religion book … And moslem want erase Allah from christian? …. Maybe moslem in malay should see him face in mirror first and change word Allah by him self

    Comment by Joyfull — December 16, 2013 @ 10:17 AM | Reply

  14. I am with you guys.. truly…I agree with the POLIS..they did a smart decision…Like we christian,God Gave us life and death and the Blessing Upon us each day…God or Allah doesn’t need banner at all,Regardless of what religion, we are the banner of Allah or God,created just like him made of dust only.for he knows what’s in your heart Good or Bad that’s they way we’ll be Blessed,Allah or God doesn’t need anything from us rather then the TEN COMMANDMENT. We don’t Need to show others that we secure or protect God or Allah,He doesn’t need to be protected or secure,He’s the one that protect us…Keep going on with the good faith and remain faithfull brothers…forget the darkside. Feeling good and great to be 1 malaysia like most of us do,…but if things start that to split us,we know we don’t have a choice either.. say it or you are told cos there’s nothing left….cheers bro.(q.UnMMA)

    Comment by alan — December 16, 2013 @ 9:08 AM | Reply

  15. Ha, ha, ha! From the fearless pagan headhunters of old to the meek, submissive pondan Christians now. I thought the whole point of the meet was to defend the use of Allah? And what did the pondan Christians do when the Malayan colonial police came calling? They caved right quick and abandoned Allah. What a bunch of pussies! I bet they all voted for BN in the last general election too.

    Comment by Scaredy Cat — December 16, 2013 @ 3:55 AM | Reply

    • Who are you to call people pondan and pussies… a SCARED CAT DICKHEAD?

      They to pulled down the Banner as directed and they did it with dignity. They did not turned unruly which the people who were behind the order to pull down the banner were probably expecting us Christians would do. They probably wanted to incite and cause us to react in an ungodly manner as an excuse for them to take actions against us. I bet if it were another religion who were asked to dismantle and Pull down such Banners, they would riot and march in the street protesting and calling for jihad or other religious wars!

      So you CAT DICKHEAD we are not ashamed to have followed the order of the authority for ALLAH is mightier then the policeman who gave the order. May ALLAH bless him with many more years of service to protect us from DICKHEAD like you!

      Comment by brian — December 16, 2013 @ 9:01 AM | Reply

      • Yeah, yeah, whatever, brian. No one cares about you pussies’ wounded pride. The fact is, your Malayan colonial master just showed you who’s boss. So grab your ankles and take it like the good pondan colonial subjects that you are.

        Comment by Scaredy Cat — December 16, 2013 @ 11:14 AM | Reply

        • Wounded pride? Who’s wounded pride and isn’t PUSSIES a DEROGATORY name for a SCAREDY CAT?

          Comment by brian — December 16, 2013 @ 1:55 PM | Reply

    • Ooohhh… your mommy didn’t breast-feed you today, is it, little kitty?
      You can hide behind the anonymity of the internet, keyboard warrior, but your words reflect your level of intelligence (or rather the lack of it). And tell me who made the Malayan masters who they are right now if not for Malayan themselves? Putting blame on Sarawak & Sabah is just a dick move.

      Comment by Clay — December 16, 2013 @ 12:01 PM | Reply

      • Of course I am going to be anonymous. Did I ever tell you or the whole world that I would go public? Come on, man, don’t be daft. It’s the Christian pussies who wanted to go public with a big show of defending the use of Allah. Guess that didn’t quite go according to plan now, did it? They end up making a big show of embarrassing themselves with their meek submission in front of all their foreign friends. What word describes that? P…U…S…S…I…E…S…. Feel free to insult me, I don’t care.

        Comment by Scaredy Cat — December 17, 2013 @ 1:34 AM | Reply

    • Submissive pondan Christians – please retract this statement because war could have been erupted against the authority if not the venue and occasion. The seminar was for praise, worship and adoring Jesus and surely brutality with the police on that occasion is wrong. Bloodshed is not the message of Christianity rather it is brotherly love. I urge Christians to reflect and reward the authorities in three years time. Perhaps Allah could be used if the Federal court allow it early 2014.

      Comment by i knowit all — December 16, 2013 @ 3:58 PM | Reply

      • OK, I retract. It should be submissive dhimmi Christians. “Reward the authorities in three years time” huh? Don’t make me laugh. Did you submissive dhimmi Christians “reward the authorities” in the recent election? As I recall, you voted for continuing Malayan overlordship and Islamic dhimmitude, and I bet you’ll do the same in the next election, and the one after, and the one after that… till kingdom come. So shut up, sit down, enjoy your dhimmitude and give generously all the riches of your land as jizya to your overlords in Putrajaya and their Sarawak puppets, Taib and company.

        Comment by Scaredy Cat — December 17, 2013 @ 2:06 AM | Reply

  16. Corrupted politicians speak with folk tonques to stay in power at the expense of religious freedom. Sarawak and Sabah are NOT “Tanah Melayu”. Why do malayans always take Sarawak for granted? We, Ibans must be a bunch of idiots. Have our so called ” christian dayak leaders ” sold their souls to the devil and are in denial mode?

    Comment by Semalau — December 16, 2013 @ 2:08 AM | Reply

  17. So now they are telling sarawakian that we can not used the word ALLAH in Sarawak!

    Comment by Hh2h — December 15, 2013 @ 10:57 PM | Reply

  18. the sooner the better

    Comment by Koko Klorok — December 15, 2013 @ 10:48 PM | Reply

  19. Church leaders and Dayak community leaders must no longer be seen to be subservient to the highly arrogant, abusive, racist, corrupted, repressive and oppressive UMNO Baru controlled BN government. It might be better for Church leaders to surrender the Datukship and other titles conferred on them by the highly corrupted and divisive regime. Christians in Sarawak and Sabah must not be intimidated by the authorities and police to give up their right to religious freedom and the right to use the word Allah to refer to God in the native or bahasa malaysia language. We must stand united and be firm in our faith and defend our religious right as guaranteed under the federal constitution. We must not allow the UMNO Baru controlled BN to divide the nation and destroy religious freedom and harmony.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — December 15, 2013 @ 10:46 PM | Reply

  20. Do you still trust the BN politicians

    Comment by terence — December 15, 2013 @ 8:36 PM | Reply

  21. A time-bomb has just been activated … only James Bond can diffuse it … good by Bodohland

    Comment by tigerykey — December 15, 2013 @ 8:06 PM | Reply

  22. It just showed how peaceful we are cos we dont “lawan” eventho we knw those police are wrong to kacau. Peace.

    Comment by Lawrance Clement Ahsay — December 15, 2013 @ 8:05 PM | Reply

  23. The faster we get out, the better. It’s stupid to be equal partners where they control and rob our resources and control our freedom and rights to belief. There is no equal partnership when they try to control everything, our wealth, our religion, our education, our everything. Submit to ICJ and UN soonest possible to settle once and for all!

    Comment by Sharpshooter — December 15, 2013 @ 7:47 PM | Reply

  24. Goodbye Tanah Melayu. After 50 years it’s time to part and say farewell. We will renegotiate with Petronas and FELDA as foreign investors. You can keep your Federal ‘Highways’ and impose tolls but we will tax you on the income. Don’t forget to return all EPFs to the rightful people.
    For any Tanah Melayu people who marry locals we will give them the right to determine their citizenship. For any foreigners who obtained citizenship via Sarawak through dubious means we will give them a one way ticket to KLIA plus pocket money. They will still be Malaysians.
    Allah protect the Sovereigh State of Sarawak and its prosperity and diversity.

    Comment by Kayanic — December 15, 2013 @ 6:22 PM | Reply

  25. Gila

    Comment by Sophia — December 15, 2013 @ 4:29 PM | Reply

    • Uncivilised

      Comment by tigerykey — December 15, 2013 @ 8:24 PM | Reply

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