First Cabinet meeting of the year is the farce of the decade – decision not to have a decision!

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak disappeared for ten days just before 2013 and the start of 2014, leaving behind a government which seems not only clueless but rudderless about the clutch of five national crises which came to a head during this period – nation-building, economic, educational, security and on good governance.

When Najib resurfaced to chair the first Cabinet meeting of the year after a disappearance of 10 days – will the Prime Minister’s Office please inform Malaysians where he went to as no one knows where was our Prime Minister between Dec. 25 to January 5! – Malaysians heaved a sigh of relief, expecting that there would at last be leadership and direction to end the drift and lack of leadership and vision in the critical 10-day transition from 2013 to 2014.

But a great disappointment was in store for Malaysians for there was only deafening silence from the Cabinet the whole of yesterday.

Only this morning, through Star’s report “Decision soon on kalimah Allah”, the Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam disclosed that Najib will announce the Cabinet decision on the issue of non-Muslims using the word ‘Allah’.

He declined to say when the announcement will be made – probably because he simply did not know.

But it would appear that this is not the only thing Subramanian did not know, as he also did not seem to know what transpired at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, going by the online Star report “Allah issue: Wait for court decision, says Jamil Khir” at 2.05 pm today.

The online Star report quoted the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom as urging all party to wait for the Federal Court’s decision on the usage of the word Allah.

Does this mean that Najib would not be making any announcement, whether on the issue of non-Muslims using the term ‘Allah’ or the illegal and unconstitutional Jais raid on Bible Society of Malaysia, and that the Cabinet’s decision yesterday was not to have any decision?

If not for the seriousness of the matter, which has plunged the country into unprecedented division and disunity because of the worst racial and religious polarisation in the nation’s history, making a total mockery of Najib’s 1Malaysia signature policy, Malaysians could have a good laugh.

This is because the Cabinet decision yesterday was a total farce which ranks easily as the farce of the decade – its decision not to have a decision!

But it is a most serious and weighty matter and it is apt to remind Najib and all the Cabinet Ministers of Edmund Burke’s immortal quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Malaysians are entitled to straightforward answer to two very simple questions:

  • Firstly, is the Prime Minister to announce the Cabinet decision on the issue of non-Muslims using the word “Allah” or is he not; and
  • Secondly, does Najib and the Cabinet still stand by the 10-Point Solution to resolve the Bible controversy endorsed by the Cabinet in April 2011 – which was clearly violated in the Jais raid of the Bible Society of Malaysia on the second day of the new year?

Bernama two days ago quoted the Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad as taking a stand on the issue of non-Muslims using the word “Allah”, questioning the intention of Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of Catholic weekly Herald, to use “Allah” to refer to god “as it was never used since the Roman Catholics entered Malacca 500 years ago”.

The Chief Justice said: “For me, there is only one intention. He wants to hoodwink Muslims by saying that you can still have faith in Allah by being in our church”.

The Chief Justice has clearly compromised the independence and impartiality of the judiciary in making comment about an issue which is yet to be heard in the Federal Court.

Noteworthy and deserving of support is the statement by Tan Sri Razali Ismail, the Chairman of Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF) that Malaysians should reject the “extreme position” taken up by the “minority factions” in the country opposing Christians’ use of the word “Allah”. (FMT)

He said the controversy did not represent the mainstream of Malaysia.

He said: “We do not have to be embarrassed by the opinion of the people who do this or the agency who does that. They do not illustrate the composite stability of Malaysia.

“Other people looking at it from outside may not understand that [the Allah controversy] is a small dimension of what constitutes the Malaysian context.”

Does Najib and the Cabinet endorse the position of the Chairman of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah