Media Conference Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Ipoh on Saturday, 16th January 2010 at 11.30 am:
Call on all Ministers from Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and from Sabah and Sarawak to declare their stand on Nazri’s proposal that the word “Allah” is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has come out with a most illogical and ridiculous solution to the “Allah” controversy – that the word “Allah” is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia.
When the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported as saying at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCFIS) in the United Kingdom two days ago that the “Allah” controversy arising from the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims would not be allowed to recur in the future, many were asking what he really meant.
Was Muhyiddin implying that no Home Minister would in future be so irresponsible and insensitive like Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that the government did not prohibit the people from demonstrating over sensitive religious issues, when he should know fully well that it would be regarded as official “green-light” for such demonstrations which could easily get out-of-hand?
Was Muhyiddin implying that no Prime Minister would in future act so irresponsibly and insensitively like Datuk Seri Najib Razak as to endorse any such insensitive and irresponsible statement by a Home Minister as had been made by Hishammuddin, resulting in the spate of arson and vandalism against churches and places of worship which have not stopped after more than a week?
Or could it be that Muhyiddin was implying that no Home Minister would in future arbitrarily impose a ban on the of use of the word “Allah” as was done in 2007 by the then Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar with regard to the Catholic weekly Herald - the cause of the current “Allah” controversy with all the adverse consequences to nation-building and grave repercussions to the country’s international reputation and economic prosperity.
But from Nazri’s interview on the solution to the “Allah” controversy, this does not appear to be Muhyiddin’s intention.
What is disturbing is the inference that although publicly the Ministers are supporting the holding of inter-religious dialogues, in actual fact, the Umno/Barisan Nasional government has made up its mind that the word “Allah” cannot be allowed to be used by non-Muslims, at least not in Peninsular Malaysia.
The inter-religious dialogue which is being canvassed is meant to reach the result already decided by the Umno/BN government and it not meang to be an open-minded one to seek a solution to the “Allah” controversy.
If so, such inter-religious dialogues to achieve a pre-set result decided by the government is not a genuine inter-religious engagement and cannot contribute to a meaningful solution to the Allah controversy.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should clear the air as to whether there is basis for such an inference about the inter-religious dialogue proposed by government Ministers.
Nazri’s solution that “Allah” can be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia makes a total mockery of Najib’s “1Malaysia” slogan, producing a more fragmented, compartmentalized or segmented Malaysia instead of a more united nation and people.
Furthermore, what is the logic that the word “Allah” can be used in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia if the constitutional prohibition of the proselytisation of Muslims is accepted and respected by all other religions?
I call on all Ministers from Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and from Sabah and Sarawak to declare their stand on Nazri’s proposal that the word “Allah” is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia – which is really no solution to the “Allah” controversy and will make no contribution towards Malaysian nation-building.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor