Herald & “Allah” – “Wonderful Christmas present” which is not so “wonderful” after all

The euphoria that good sense and sanity have finally prevailed among those in government whose decisions could adversely impact on inter-religious and inter-racial relations as to aggravate religious polarization in a plural society like Malaysia lasted just four days.

On New Year’s eve on Monday, 31st December 2007, Malaysians thought they saw a silver lining after a whole year of gloomy “annus horribilis” when they learnt that Herald, the Catholic weekly, had been allowed to continue printing its Bahasa Malaysia section with no restrictions on the use of the word Allah for God.

A happy editor of the 13-year-old Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew, said that a representative from the Internal Security Ministry delivered a letter containing the permit to print the paper, dated Dec. 28, by hand at 10 am on a Sunday (Dec. 30) – which was a great and commendable gesture of goodwill.

The letter placed no restrictions whatsoever and included the permit for all the languages, including the Bahasa Malaysia segment, causing Father Lawrence to give effusive thanks to the government and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok for his assistance.

Bernard described the Herald permit as “good news” and “a wonderful Christmas present” by the government to the Christian community.

This morning, the euphoria that good sense and sanity have finally prevailed among the decision-makers in government on why it is imperative to promote inter-religious goodwill and harmony evaporated after just four days when Malaysians woke up to read headlines like “Herald can’t use ‘Allah’ in its publications” (Star) and “Cabinet: ‘Allah’ for Muslims only” (The Sun).

In a statement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Abdullah Mohd Zin said the Cabinet has decided that restrictions on the use of the world “Allah” still stand and Catholic weekly Herald therefore cannot use it although its printing licence has just been renewed.

Abdullah said the apart from Allah, the use of the words Solat, Kaabah and Baitullah was also prohibited in the publications of religions other than Islam as per the decision of the cabinet on July 30, 2002, which has been enforced since Dec. 5, 1986.

This is a half step backward followed by quick one step forward.

What is the use of appointing Bernard Dompok as the Minister in charge of Christian affairs if the legitimate hopes and concerns of the Christian community are not accorded the weight and respect they deserve – just as what is the use of a Christmas present which has only a four-day lifespan for its “wonder” effects?

However, it is not only the Christian community who are adversely affected by the ban of the use of the word “Allah” as it also affects the Sikh community who use the words Allah and Rahim extensively to refer to God, as well the Arabic terms “iman” and “ibadat” for faith and worship.

In claiming that the Cabinet has decided that restrictions on the use of the word “Allah” still stand, reaffirming the Cabinet decisions of July 30, 2002 and Dec. 5, 1986, I call on Abdullah to state:

1. When was the last Cabinet decision on the matter and who were the Cabinet Ministers who attended and voted for it; and why the non-Muslim Cabinet Ministers did not object.

2. Who were the Ministers who took part in the Cabinet decision on July 30, 2002 to ban the use of “Allah” for non-Islamic religions; and non-Muslim Cabinet Ministers who supported this decision at the time should step forward to explain their action.

3. Who were the Ministers who took part in the original Cabinet decision of Dec. 5, 1986 and whether there was full, informed and intelligent discussion of the subject before the decision was taken; and

4. Whether all the non-Islamic Cabinet Ministers at each of these Cabinet meetings had been given an opportunity to consult the non-Islamic religions so that the Cabinet decision is the result of the considered views and representations from all religious faiths, and not just of a handful of people from one religion?

If the Cabinet had failed to seek the widest consultation before reaching a decision which tantamounts to the unconstitutional deprivation of the right to religious freedom guaranteed to all Malaysians, the Cabinet should put on hold its decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” for non-Islamic religions and commission a full and extensive consultation process on the issue involving all religious leaders and faiths in the country.

  1. #1 by lakshy on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:03 pm

    YB, I wish to seek clarification.

    Does the cabinet decision have power if what it has decided on has not been converted into some form of law? Sometimes we hear cabinet making decisions, but when we go to the napoleons, they still continue to do as they wish, because they say that the cabinet decision has not been made into law, i.e through parliament etc.

    So would the same apply in this case? Can the Herald continue to use the word Allah in its printing as there is no law forbidding them from doing so? It’s merely a cabinet decision (and a half past six one at that if there ever was one)

  2. #2 by bystander on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:09 pm

    What a bunch of morons. Pls inform the whole world that Muslims in Malaysia have a monoply of the word “allah”. Non muslims are not permitted to use it. I agree with the priest to take the govt to court.

  3. #3 by lakshy on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:11 pm

    To me, there is only One God. Although we all call him by different names. To stop one religion from calling him Allah, would be meaningless. If one thinks of God as Allah and communicates with Him as Allah, what does the written word matter if it says Yehweh or God, Jehovah etc?

  4. #4 by cheng on soo on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:16 pm

    Make this into law, n put up notices all over entry points, like KLIA, JB Immigration, Pdg Besar, Bt Kayu Hitam, Rantau Panjang, Wang Kelian, Tumpat, etc Immigration.
    Make announcement in all incoming flights, esp those from Lebanon (Many Arab Christians), Punjab (Sikh) n Shanghai (Many non Muslim), Instruct all tourist guide to warn non Muslim tourists on this unique Msia law!
    To generate revenue, find foreigner RM800/-, every time they break this law! They are Rich lah!

  5. #5 by Jong on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:37 pm

    This BN Administration is MAD, must be replaced at this coming General Election. They have gone overboard!

  6. #6 by grace on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:43 pm

    Now Pak Lah and his half past six cabinet will be even more confused:
    Sikhism also used “Allah” in reference to God. Sikhs even have more terms similar to that used by muslims. Refer to Malaysiakini report.

    Those jokers in the cabinet must be scatching their head thinking how to get out of the dilema. Sikhs have been using the words for a long time in Malaysia and the world, do you expect to forbid them from using those words?


  7. #7 by cheng on soo on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:49 pm

    Need to have a separate version of state anthems with this word for non muslim msian

  8. #8 by azk on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:56 pm

    Seems like words that comes off a minister’s mouth nowadays automatically translates to LAW.

    We need to urgently stop this kinda non-sense and correct the system before it spirals down to chaos.

    What is the use of Parliament when the government starts to run the country as they like and create new laws as they wish?

  9. #9 by ahluck on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 4:59 pm

    allah mak!

    started! Pak lah been made the comedian again? what a bunch of jokers in cabinet? [deleted]

    macam macam lah thats why they have a proverb in malay! bodoh macam lembu!


    wei! pah lak! wake up from your sleepy head and check on your crazy ministers. i feel like i want to knock your head. grrrrrrrrrr

  10. #10 by a-malaysian on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:07 pm

    Allah, Allah, Allah

    Please wake up the morons who is trying to deny the non muslim from using the word Allah.

    May I ask if the malaysian gomon have file for copyright of the word Allah?

    We have to find the original founding of the alphabet and why the muslim are using the alphabet to write the word Allah or other muslim words. The alphabets are use internationally and so we can always use them to spell the word Allah. If the bn is not happy then don’t use the alphabet to write the word Allah, use whatever arabic or languages that is not known to us.

    I am urging the Herald to take the gomen to international court to seek clarification.

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:09 pm

    a-lah, previous news was too good to be true
    as always, lots of U turns

  12. #12 by 9to5 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:13 pm

    That should be good news to opposition parties!

    Now, 2 million Christians and 1 million Sikhs will be voting for the oppositions.

    Other non-muslim religions like buddhism, hinduism, baba, taoism, judaism, etc, which do not use the word “allah” will also be voting for oppositions for fear that it might be their turn in future their rights will be trampled upon. That will be another 5-6 millions loss to BN!

  13. #13 by llb_gan on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:13 pm

    I really wonder if the Cabinet has also decided on the exact spelling for God/Allah that Malaysian Christians are proscribed from using. And is the prohibition only in respect of the word in its written form or does it cover the spoken/literal form as well?

    Can two Christians legally talk about God and refer to Him as Allah, in private? Can they do the same in public? What about in a semi-private place?

    Can two friends, a Christian and a Muslim, lawfully talk about God and refer to Him as Allah, in private? Can they do the same in public? Or must the Muslim, during the conversation, say Allah and his Christian friend say Abba?

    I put it to the Cabinet that this whole sickening episode has absolutely nothing to do with God and all to do with the ugly side of the divisive and destructive politics that is so often practised by the lesser politicians of the ruling party. If only the Cabinet can see and hear itself, it will realise that it has scaled the very heights of irrationality and unreasonableness, not to mention ludicrousness and idiocy. Even Allah, I mean God, is laughing at you and your antics!

    My suggestion to Father OC and company is to immediately use alternate spellings for God – such as “Alah”, “Alor”, “Alleh”, “Allaah” and so on and so forth, if you get the drift.

    Ya Allah, Oh my God !

  14. #14 by grace on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:14 pm

    Allah mak! I forgot to go to the bank today!!!

  15. #15 by gofortruth on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:17 pm

    It is absolutely clear that the English word for God is God, the French word for God is Dieu, the Chinese word for God is ? (shen), the Arabic word for God is Allah & what have you for other languages. In other word you can use the words interchangeably by all religions so long as the word makes sense to the hearer. Its pointless to use the word Dieu on me if I don’t know French. I get to understand alot of people in Malaysia today speak Bahasa Malaysia and the word ‘Allah’ makes perfect sense to them meaning God.

    It is then the duty of each individual faith to teach their believers that the nature & character of God (Dieu,? ,Allah) of each religion can be very different.

    Since the word ‘Allah’ has been used to refer to God long before Islam ever existed, it is only fair that fair minded leadership of our country takes the responsibility to educate all muslims in Malaysia instead of banning non muslims to use the word.This is amounting to forcing its citizens to live under a coconut shell. Hey! the whole world is laughing lah!

    Oops perhaps there is other hidden agenda for some meaningful people who purposely want to create a clear divisive issue out of it to win all the Malay votes.

    Its funny you don’t hear PAS saying anything about this???

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:18 pm

    Essentially what Badawi says is this: This is important, let us decide and don’t ask any question about it. We know better.

    The key is that He did not say, lets have a mature, open discussion about it and if no one can clearly make their argument, then we will decide. He did not say, lets listen to some smart people about and then decide.

    You know what this is: Small mind..Just plain small minds..

  17. #17 by trashed on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:19 pm

    Let us wait of the new versions of the state anthems since non-Muslims cannot use the word.

  18. #18 by madmix on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:20 pm

    The Iman Hadhari has passed a Fatwah. End of debate.

  19. #19 by Loh on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:23 pm

    ///Abdullah said the apart from Allah, the use of the words Solat, Kaabah and Baitullah was also prohibited in the publications of religions other than Islam as per the decision of the cabinet on July 30, 2002,///

    So Malaysians are free to practice their religious faith minus the belief and the use of the terms reserved by the government for Islam. But, with the restriction on the use of words which have always been part of the practices of other non-Islam religions, aren’t non-Muslims having their right curtailed in practising their religions. Clearly the use of those words commonly understood by Muslims does not amount to propagating non-Islam religions.

    When Bahasa Malaysia is meant to be the official language for communication, it will be illogical to reserve certain words for privileged persons or religion. If the government intends to stop the use of certain words for Islam, for whatever purpose, it would be free to do so because Islam is the official religion. Obviously, it does not become the government’s duty to restrict the use of Malay words in other religions.

    The law places restriction on the propagation of religion other than Islam. Even if non Islamic religions choose to adapt some of the religious practices of Islam it does not amount to propagating their different religions to outsiders.

    The word Allah has been used by non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak before they joined in the formation of Malaysia. There have never been any ugly incidents caused by the use of those words that are now being banned, whenever the decision was made by the Cabinet. Is it the gift of the government to the people of Sabah and Sarawak, who have ‘generously allowed’ oil revenue derived from their states to be used at the federal government’s discretion, to ban the use of those words that have become their religious practice?

    PM AAB chose to say that the ban was decided during the days of TDM. If he could stop the crooked bridge, why can’t he stop the ban? It seems he is good at blaming TDM for things that are unpopular, and claiming credit whenever opportunity arises.

  20. #20 by trashed on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:27 pm

    The speech by Barack Obama upon winning the Iowa Caucus would be lost on the current BN govt. In his speech, the African American junior senator was obviously charged up being the first black winner of any US Presidential caucus, and more particularly when Iowa is 95% white.

    Snippets of his speech include thanking the voters for voting
    (a) for change instead of by fear,
    (b) to end the political strategy that’s been all about division, and instead make it about addition
    (c) to build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states

    A lot of it can be applied to the current state of affairs in Malaysia.

  21. #21 by mata_kucing on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:30 pm

    If the cabinet approved the ban, does it mean that all christian cabinet members and those non-muslim ones agreed to it? And what has the minister in charge of christian affairs has to say? Seems that they all have lost their marbles. Can’t even defend their own religion.

  22. #22 by TruthEnquirer on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:31 pm

    The issuance of licence for publication of the Catholic Weekly, Herald comes within the control and purview of the Internal Security Ministry.

    Since it was the Deputy Minister of Internal Security Datuk Johari Baharum who admitted that he decided that the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, it would suggest the Ministry’s letter dated Dec 28 enclosing the renewed permit with no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia segment must have been sent by an authority of someone higher than the Deputy Minister Johari, which, in this case, would be the Minister of Internal Security, the Prime Minister himself overruling Johari’s position.

    That there should now be another flip-flop retraction of the position in the Dec 28’s letter infers that the PM could not enforce his own will unto his party power brokers, rather it is the other way around that right wingers bent on the agenda of ‘Ketuanan’ could prevail on him to change his mind, thereby giving credence to the widespread perception that the PM is better characterized by his ability to be led than to lead.

    This shows limits to his power as a Prime Minister. Pak Lah might, in person, be an amiable and tolerant man but as a leader he could not convince and demonstrate leadership qualities if he continually prioritizes his political survival over decision to do right, based on right principles that are good for the nation.

    Those who prize their own survival of political position higher than the right principles will ironically be the ones who most likely lose their positions fastest.

    And that is because inability to assert the right principle and compromise with the wrong, in the interest of personal survival, is always construed as weakness, and it is weakness or perceived weakness that is the main catalyst to induce political opponents within the party vying for the top slot to coalesce and attack soonest.

  23. #23 by cheng on soo on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 5:36 pm

    5, Dec, 1986, 30, July,2002, why take so long for us to know, May be somebody be the Good Guy to suspend this 21 years “law,” (Dec,1986) before GE! to gain votes
    After GE, re-instate this “law” to hormat previous PM, etc

  24. #24 by sani on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 6:22 pm


    Languages is a living entity, it cannot be legislated.

    In my life , i had met so many elderly Mak Sallehs, whom speak fluent BM (be it Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia). Prior to World War 2, BM was the shipping lingo from the Suez Cannals to Northern Australia.

    This was all before Dewan Bahasa came around + screw it up. Malay Language is so friendly to use, just put one word after another, that was why it was so popular back then.

    Now our peanuts Goverment want to restrict even an International word…ai yah…Ya Allah!

  25. #25 by iweepformalaysia on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 6:38 pm

    These BN morons are definitely rocks to be removed if Malaysia is to fly high. Shall we start cleaning them through the coming GE?

  26. #26 by ktteokt on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 6:49 pm

    Franchise ALLAH pls!

  27. #27 by Jamesy on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 6:53 pm

    “In a statement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Abdullah Mohd Zin said the Cabinet has decided that restrictions on the use of the world “Allah” still stand and Catholic weekly Herald therefore cannot use it although its printing licence has just been renewed.”

    A reversal of decision. Funny, isn’t it? Abdullah is such a liar.

  28. #28 by twistedmind on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 6:55 pm

    It is quite clear now, the BN government OWNs GOD!

  29. #29 by grace on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:06 pm

    Pak Lah should feel more embarasses than Dr. Chua. Reading Malaysiakini latest news, a group of youths had sent a special gift to him in Putra jaya. The GIFTS: A BOLSTER AND PILLOW
    THE MESSAGE: “The last hope of the young Malaysians: Continue sleeping O’Prime Minister”.

    If I were the PM, I will hide my face under my bed- Malu la!!!

  30. #30 by oknyua on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:10 pm

    This is exactly what I said earlier – the right to print does not mean anything. The ban on certain words had not been lifted.

    As a Christian and a watcher of religious trend for the past 20 years I am not surprise. It’s up to us to comply, either (1) a man-made rule or (2) a higher rule. Of course the bible specifically urged Christians to pray for the leaders and those in authority. The aim is for peace and freedom to practise our faith.

    Secondly, this clearly shows the internal tendency of our gov’t, in this case, AAB-lead government. The gov’t may preach tolerance and settle issues in amicable ways. But that is the set of rules that apply to others. We had just heard the advice of the need of being tolerant from Najib in specific reference to the Ma Zhu case. Then we received the false hope of approval from the Internal Ministry aka AAB. Both the word tolerance and approval is proven hollow.

    I would like to question a few things, but these questions belittle most Muslim friends that I have. For example I want to ask, why is their faith in Islam so shallow that it can be shaken with just the term “Allah”? Most of my friends are angry with that question, not at me for asking, but at AAB for appointing himself as a guardian to their faith. Can’t the ordinary Muslims made decisions of their own without having an authoritative guardian over them?

    As for me, friends I would continue to read the Alkitab Bahasa Indonesia. The jail might not be able to contain all of us who do… but in case I am jailed, please send me some oranges now and then.

  31. #31 by Libra2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:28 pm

    The problem with non-Muslim is they like to thank UMNO profusely when they receive something from the government, as though they are beggars receiving alms from a benefactor.
    They look upon these as their rights and not some free handout.
    Bernard was so elated when the permit was granted and praised the PM sky high.
    In any case, I think this announcement is an after thought. However it is not binding on Herald as this condition was not stated in the hand delivered permit. Why make an oral condition through the newspapers.
    If I were the editor I will continue to use the word ‘Allah’ and see what the Internal Security does.
    The case is in the courts and lets see what the judge, who will probably be a Muslim, have to say.

  32. #32 by Jong on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:30 pm

    I don’t think PM Abdullah is a liar, it’s just that he has lost power and control. Those monkeys have already lost respect for him.

    He has no mind of his own and has no leadership qualities, in short he is a liability in the coming General Election. They are just waiting to get rid of him.

  33. #33 by peacefulcitizen on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:32 pm

    face the fact our good’ol malaysians, our voice will never be voiced out instead it has been hushed down for a few years. dont you all think arguing on this will solve anything?

    i wouldnt be surprised if the next rally will be done by the christians. well what do u know, it’s 2008 new year resolution! what a start of a new year

  34. #34 by Libra2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:39 pm

    I would blame the spineless PM. If only he had intervened at the onset of this controversy, things would not have drag to this stage.
    I wonder why UMNO Minsters like a make fool of themselves in the international stage by behaving like clowns. He has this habit of dragging controversies – Lingam tape, IPCMC, Hindraf and Bersih appeals.

  35. #35 by osaya on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 7:46 pm

    the cabinet ministers are part of the executive. they are entrusted to *execute* the law, not *make* the law as they see fit.

    the only silver lining here is that the current administration’s incompetence and arrogance has only gone to enrage the all sections of the rakyat beyond all forms of repair.

    let’s just hope they continue on this path of self-destruction, instead of bucking up right before the election and placating the rakyat with the usual bribery in kind.

  36. #36 by gofortruth on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 8:08 pm

    I thought we elected a government that serves us, but as it turns out we are being bullied left, right & center.They make new laws and change laws as and when they feel like it for their purposes and not in the national interest eg the extention of the tenure of EC & now the ALLAH issue.

    Frankly in the long run, there is no other way out but to have a strong Barisan Alternative or Rakyat (a coalition of all the opposition parties) to ensure we are being served justly & righteously & harmoniously.

  37. #37 by oknyua on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 8:12 pm

    “i wouldnt be surprised if the next rally will be done by the christians.” peacefulcitizen

    No, never.

    There was this engineer in a Majlis Perbandaran that refused to approve the building permit for my Church. We pleaded and appealed. We visited him. I won’t print the words he answered us. But the church prayed. Less than 3 months, the engineer was transferred to a small district. He was caught for something unprintable.

    I am sad for AAB. You hurt what is precious in God’s eyes.

  38. #38 by malaysiatoday.com on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 8:32 pm

    UMNO will persistently inciting religious sentiment amongst the Malays to ensure Malays are behind them. Religion is most effective tool to suppress your rational thinking.

    This is an old trick used by UMNO for last 50 years. Nothing new afterall.

  39. #39 by sheriff singh on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 8:47 pm

    Why Bernard Dompok continues to take all this bullshit I don’t understand. This man has been slapped left, right and center, yet he just takes it. He’s been used and abused over and over again and I suppose he has lost all sense of what decency, honour and pride is all about. Imagine the PM slapping his own Minister in his own department. Dompok, do what is right and decent. Open your eyes. You’ve been had.

    Day 1 of 2008 we had Chuagate. By day 4 we have “Allahgate”. What else is coming?

    “It was a Cabinet decision”. Yes, so we don’t know who to blame but the whole half-past-six lot. Yes, the non-Muslims have yet again kow-towed.

    I will continue to say “Allah” and “Raheem” in my prayers so don’t anybody stop me.

    And as for the two Christian groups that have sued the government, we are behind you all the way. Go get them!!!! Allah be with you.

  40. #40 by ktteokt on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 8:47 pm

    But I don’t think it is very effective now, this religious stuff, otherwise PAS wouldn’t stand in the way of UMNO. UMNO has to convince the Malays that they are “holier” than PAS in order to win their hearts. What a case of ISLAM vs. ISLAM here!

  41. #41 by negarawan on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 8:57 pm

    Badawi is a BIG LIAR! Period!!

  42. #42 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:07 pm

    “I don’t think PM Abdullah is a liar….” JONG

    Abdullah is not a liar by design but a liar by perception.

    When he says “Work with me” perhaps he should have said “Walk with me”. When he says “Tell me the truth” he sounded like Jesus in the Bible except that Jesus was quoted to have said “I’m telling you the truth”.

    “He says “I have big ears” and ‘management by big ears’ is an innovative management style, he thought he was introducing something new except that native Americans have been doing that for centuries i.e. putting their ears to the ground to find out what they needed to know. This style of management was later borrowed by the white man and claimed it as theirs and label it ‘grassroots management’ which took on new meanings in the 60s.

    “…it’s just that he has lost power and control.” JONG

    I’ll have to disagree with you here, Jong. You cannot lose what you do not have.

  43. #43 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:21 pm

    “The law places restriction on the propagation of religion other than Islam. ” Loh

    This is an inaccurate and misleading statement of the law as enshrined in our Federal Constitution of 1957. Constitutional law only restricts the propagation of religion other than Islam to Malays and Muslims. Otherwise you are free to practice your religion and spread it to others.

    Freedom of religion under Article 11 is subject only to Clause (4) as Jeffrey QC would gladly tell you.

  44. #44 by peacefulcitizen on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:24 pm

    To oknyua,

    you may think that it might not have a rally it’s an uncertainty BUT after the HINDRAF incident, dont you think it’ll trigger another? think about it. the govt forbids HERALD to use “allah”. to us if we think about it, there’s no wrong in using it.

    right now, the govt implementing islamic teachings into the cabinet, it’s unfair to other non muslims. im a muslim myself but that’s not the way you treat other non muslims. i cant be going around (like what other bloggers mentioned earlier) saying that “oi! dont use the word “allah”.. HARAM(forbidden)!” it’s ridiculous right?

    like what gofortruth had said earlier, in other countries we say “God” in different language but the meaning is the same. Where as over here THEY are making things complicated.

    to be honest, i dont know what’s going to happen to our country. there’s no democracy ruling over here. i myself feel so insecure.

  45. #45 by peacefulcitizen on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:27 pm

    good one there twistedmind!

  46. #46 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:40 pm

    Is it not time Christians raise their objection to the change of name of their Lord from Jesus to Yesus?

    How is the use of “Allah” by other faiths a threat to Islam?

    Already the religion of Islam as “religion of the federation” under Article 3 of the Federal Constitution of 1957 occupies a special position in the life of this nation. Article 12(2) among others further bolsters this position.

    We do not need Saladins among UMNO Ministers to tell us how to think.

  47. #47 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:46 pm

    Why are we splitting hairs on the use of a word?

  48. #48 by llb_gan on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:46 pm

    God is unvanquishable. Even if you outlaw Allah, his followers may yet spell out his name backwards and it would still sound right. HALLA is great !

  49. #49 by lakshy on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:56 pm

    Hang on a sec. So can the Bible use Adam in it or not ah? In the Quran the first man is also Adam. So in order not to confuse the masses, shouldn’t Adam’s name be changed in the Christian Bible?

  50. #50 by smeagroo on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 9:57 pm

    ALAmak! ALer, this PM is a liar!

    So can the mainstream medai now change all the english usage of the word GOD as it belongs to the Christian only. MAybe they shld use ALLAH as we are an ISLAMIC country as proclaimed by those filp-floppy dudes.

  51. #51 by smeagroo on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:04 pm

    BN is GOD in Malaysia.

  52. #52 by smeagroo on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:04 pm

    ooops, it shld read UMNO as other components are useless.

  53. #53 by Loh on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:10 pm

    Constitutional law only restricts the propagation of religion other than Islam to Malays and Muslims. So the law places restriction on the propagation of religion other than Islam. And the law places no restriction on the propagation of Islam.

  54. #54 by Jong on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:18 pm


    Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I was responding to Jamesy’s comment and I do not agree on that particular issue, that the PM lied in the ‘reversal of decision’. I believe he just lost control of his monkeys and he now looks real idiot.

  55. #55 by Jong on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:29 pm

    OK I will reword my response to undergrad2, my comment is now awaiting moderation!

    Perhaps I did not make myself clear. What I meant was I did not agree with Jamesy on that particular issue, that the PM lied in the ‘reversal of decision’.
    I believe he had lost control of his m_keys!

  56. #56 by oknyua on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:33 pm

    Just a thought, YB Lim. Maybe you can use this argument too.

    When Christian say: “Mari kita menyembah Allah kita,” why is that Christians still flock to the church and not to a Masjid?

    For the Muslim, it is feared that the word “Allah” would bring (mislead) them to a Church. If you are a Muslim, won’t you feel insulted?

  57. #57 by naked taliban on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:38 pm

    The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil ; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.


    Next election vote this arrogant BN gomen OUT !!

  58. #58 by drybones on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:42 pm

    Agreed with llb_gan that the word spelt backwards – HALLA sounds good, but sure gomen will banned HALLA cos it’s also sound like HALAL.
    So control/limit usage of word ALLAH only at certain church occasion and better still, issue AP and gomen can get $$$,,.. ; and churches without AP caught using the word orally or in written form will be fined $$$..

  59. #59 by k1980 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:43 pm

    Once the Christians decide to have a rally in Putrajaya, Dollah will at once link them to the IRA, ETA, Baader Meinhof Gang, Shining Path, Tupac Amaru, you-name-it-Christian-terror groups as happened to Hindraf and the LTTE

  60. #60 by Yong Chee keong on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:57 pm

    As the word Allah existed long before Islam came into this world, Christians have been using it before Muslims. Perhaps it is only fair then that Muslims (in Malaysia only) find a replacement for this word which they now find controversial.

  61. #61 by ALtPJK on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 10:58 pm

    Undergrad2, allow me to add on to your post of 21: 40.58.

    The use of the word ‘Allah’ by other faiths is a threat to Islam is only seen in the eyes of those who feel insecure about their profession of the religion. Muslims in other parts of the world have, for history knows how long, no qualms about such use. Has the freedom of those Muslim to practise Islam ever diminish? Has the spread of Islam among them been stunted by such use?

    The use of the word ‘Allah’ by other faiths is a threat to Islam is only seen in the eyes of those who do not respect and uphold the ‘Rule of Law’. After all Article 11(4) of the Constitution is sufficient to protect Muslims from proselytisation. Has the previous use of the word ‘Allah’ by people in Malaysia professing other faith (as cited by many posters in this and other threads) ever threatened the practice or the spread of Islam in Malaysia?

    The use of the word ‘Allah’ by other faiths is a threat to Islam only because in the crucial remaining couple of weeks before GE there has to be at least one galvanising sentiment to stir up the Malays, supposedly all of whom are Muslims, to vote for BN which is now threatened of an erosion of previously guaranteed monopoly of their votes.

  62. #62 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:11 pm

    “Constitutional law only restricts the propagation of religion other than Islam to Malays and Muslims. So the law places restriction on the propagation of religion other than Islam. And the law places no restriction on the propagation of Islam.” Loh

    No. A pie is still a pie even though it has a piece missing. Freedom of religion is guaranteed under our Constitution subject to the proviso under Clause (4) of the said Article 11.

    Art. 11 (1) reads “Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.”

  63. #63 by Cinapek on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:17 pm

    Clearly AAB has finally decided a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. After the latest Chua scandal he has resigned himself to the fact he will lose a lot of the non Malay votes. At the same time he is facing a lot of Muslim anger and pressure on why he should back down to the Christian demands. Since he cannot afford to lose the Malay votes, and since the Christian votes are too small anyway so he must have decided he can afford to sacrifice them to appease Malay anger. Hence the flip flop turnaround after just 4 days. His 4th floor advisers must have told him to bite the bullet now instead of meeting the Christian demands only to face another Mazu demand later. Now that he has taken the plunge, he can tell Tan Sri Chong to go ahead and do his worst.

    And the Cabinet? Well, apart from the fact they are a bunch of eunuchs, AAB must have pointed out to them that the Non UMNO BN members have already lost a lot of their ethnic support and so will need to depend on Malay support to win. The spectre of mass defeat and annihilation is more than enough to frighten the eunuchs into meek compliance.

  64. #64 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:22 pm


    Yes, it is all about the politicization of Islam “the religion of the federation under Art. 3 of our Constitution.

    UMNO leaders like role playing and in this case they are falling over each other in trying to project their public image as defender of Malay rights among others, as Muslims and of the constitutional status of Islam. It is not even old wine in a new bottle.

  65. #65 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:27 pm

    UMNO would like Malays to feel that their religion is under threat. Who are they fooling but fools?

  66. #66 by Cinapek on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:27 pm

    This whole issue of the word Allah has wider implications that just the monopoly demanded by the ruling Islamic Govt of Malaysia.

    Today, if the Govt. insist on demanding what even the whole world (literally) see as absurd, what is there to stop them from encroaching on other religiously sensitive matters? Herein lies the danger. The message sent to the Little Napoleons by this singular dumb act is that it is carte blanche to trample on the religious rights of the non Muslims. This could lead to dangerous consequences as it is bound to escalate.

  67. #67 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:27 pm

    It is obvious that when the leadership has nothing to offer, they will find the most sensitive and unexplainable topic to galvanize the majority to protect their ill-gotten interests. In a ‘closet society’ just as during the Spanish Inquisition, this was the practice then. Hence all the comments we pen will be too late to make any change. The only hope is left to the rational majority of the Malay society to make the required changes. Another 50 years down the same road, I sincerely wander what would become of the malaysian Malays in the more globalized environment. Just look at China, they have already achieved a per capital of us$2,700, just 20 years after Deng decided to practise the market society! And they have projected to hit us$6,000 before 2020!!

  68. #68 by ALtPJK on Friday, 4 January 2008 - 11:36 pm

    Well, I don’t envy the position of editor of Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew. Imagine him gladly announcing to his congregation, only to disappoint them hardly a week later. “Errhhh…Houston we’ve got a praab..lem. We’re back to square one”.

    Anyway, it’s already way past my bedtime. Enough of this ‘Allah’ merry-go-round talk for the time being. I’ll save the opportunity to say ‘Allah’ this Sunday when I go to church.

  69. #69 by dawsheng on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 12:04 am

    “As the word Allah existed long before Islam came into this world, Christians have been using it before Muslims. Perhaps it is only fair then that Muslims (in Malaysia only) find a replacement for this word which they now find controversial.” Yong Chee keong

    “Alamak” sounds nice!

  70. #70 by iyamwhoiyam on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 12:08 am

    One of our parish priest has been a strong supporter of the usage of the words “Allah” and when it comes to prayers, he MUST insist on a LOUDER proclamation of the word “Allah”, it sickens me sometimes that religion is mingled into some political agenda, like how some overemotional parish priests who want to tell the whole congregation about injustice and other knick knacks….the church is a place of prayers, solemnity, reflection and solitude, not a place to create or harness on people’s sentiments to rise against an attack. I need not elaborate on the situation in phillipines….one religion ( Christianity ) also they fight till cows come home….we’re far better off here

    I believe, Allah or otherwise, we will survive, our prayers will be answered and when judgement day comes ( kiamat in our friendlier malay language), there will be no separation between the “allah” gang and the Tuhan gang. all good men will go up, all bad men go down, a theory even a 4 year old can understand.

    So really, while i acknowledge the wider implication, i do not see the fuss about the use of the 5 letter word, HALLA sounds cool..what say You father lawrence??…..

    besides, singing malay hyms during mass using the Tuhan word always rhymes and sounds better….

    the christians, wherever we are, will always be persecuted, and in our country, subtle persecution would be the apt word to use. And throughout the history of the christian faith, despite the wars, political agendas ( yeah even back then ), praying in the catacombs, etc, we have survived with one universe believe. It was read, sung, praised in latin, greek, roman, italian, arabic, and so many more languages but we stood by ONE believe.

    SO, moral of story is, if that’s the way those jokers want the exclusive word of Allah, let them have it, its like a kid who wants his marbles back, a sore loser and sore losers never go far.

    We will sing our hearts out in English, tamil, and chinese, and yeah even in malay and tagalog ( i can string some decent filipinas myself) and praise the one true God regardless if he/she was called ALLAH or otherwise.

  71. #71 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 12:09 am

    Christmas is over. Goodwill is over. Its back to realities.

    This is the Cabinet having Big Ears but not listening. Eunuchs “fighting” for their communities. BN parties “resolving” matters behind closed doors using Hadhari principles.

    And call it “Cemerlang, Terbilang, Gemilang”.

  72. #72 by peterlsc on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 12:10 am

    who voted these morons into office!!!!!
    anyway see who’s playing the racial card? who’s else? the ruling politikus la!!

  73. #73 by bystander on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 12:13 am

    All said and done, the fact of the matter is that the majority of malaysian muslims are insecure, weak and have no confidence in their faith and religion. if their faith in their religion is strong, why do they need to ban the use of allah by others? why do they need to ban the conversion of muslims into other faith? Why do they allow non-muslims to convert to muslims but not vice versa? What are they afraid of? Why the double standards? Or are muslims so insecure or are they so irrational when it comes to religion?

  74. #74 by ahpiow on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 1:44 am

    I am puzzled by the so many political issues that are cropping up in recent months affecting the minority groups in the country (meaning the Chinese, the Indians, the Christians, the east Malaysians). Why are all these matters suddenly coming up the forefront in Malaysian politics just before the GE? The head honchos in UMNO must realise that these issues are detrimental to the BN coalition in the coming GE as most non-mooslims who are internet-savvy (not the news media readers) will vote for the opposition. Is this what the coalition wants to happen? Obviously not! Then why is AAB not putting a hold on all this publicities? Interesting situation.

    Think outside the box! AAB has no control over all this! The 4th Floor is in control! If the GE shows major losses in non-mooslim majority areas and possibly also in some mooslim majority areas (and hopefully just enough to deny BN the 2/3 majority), then heads will roll – whose heads? Make your guesses – maybe 2-6 of the top heads in UMNO?

    This coming GE will be a very interesting watch! Some kind of mini- revolution in UMNO I think!

    Happy New year to Kit and all! This will be a new beginning for all Malaysians.

  75. #75 by hbk2 on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 1:55 am

    Are they trying to imply that the Indonesian Muslims are more capable of staying focused on their faith in a sense that they do not fall into a confused state of mind eventhough Indonesian Christians use the name “Allah” for God?

  76. #76 by gofortruth on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 2:20 am

    “As the word Allah existed long before Islam came into this world, Christians have been using it before Muslims. Perhaps it is only fair then that Muslims (in Malaysia only) find a replacement for this word which they now find controversial.” Yong Chee keong

    The whole world knows that Islam has conviniently taken the word ‘Allah’ from other religions when it began its debut in the 6th century AD to mean God. No body is confused accept the ruling BN gomen of Malaysia. Yes I agree with Yong that BN gomen should give the god of muslims a suitable unique name & patent right it, that way, no Malaysian sons will be confused if they step out of the country and find others using the name ALLAH left right & center to mean God.

    Cheap trick to win over Malay votes lah. I don’t think our Malay friends are easily fooled this time around. Time to vote in the Barisan Alternative, if there is one?

  77. #77 by DarkHorse on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 6:14 am

    Shall we leave God. by whatever name you know Him, alone?? He is busy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan making His statement.

  78. #78 by ChinNA on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 6:23 am

    Let me say this as a Christian.

    This happened with God’s permission.

  79. #79 by DarkHorse on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 7:36 am

    It is unfair to the rest of us who do not have a hotline so we could be in direct communication with God. Are you sure you’re hearing God’s voices?? Or someone else’s?

    Which God? Allah? Yaweh? Goddess Lakshmi or Money Goddess Anka

  80. #80 by dawsheng on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 7:41 am

    “This happened with God’s permission.” ChinNa

    That’s why God is great?

  81. #81 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 9:12 am

    Is there really a way to rule that certain words are only for Muslims in practical terms? You can rule that certain words cannot be used in the press, in media etc. but in practical use?

    What would happen if I now go around in social gathering and use the words in speech? What if I lead a group of people in prayer that uses the word? What if I distribute a DVD with someone saying the word – who is guilty, the ones who make the DVD, the distributor or the one talking?

    You see what I mean when I say BN does not learn from main lesson of hypocrisy of Dr. Chua’s incident? You always run into trouble sooner or later. Who are they kidding? This is about pandering to the right-wing Muslim and not the merit of arguments. Dr. Chua’s stubborn refusal to admit his personal flaw is a good indication of how most BNers feel about their hypocrisy – they will not change on their own and have to be forced upon them.

  82. #82 by Evenmind on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 9:47 am

    The morons are so d that even confusing confusious would lost for words if he was alive today, What else can you refer them to be???Imberciles

  83. #83 by The_Dude on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 10:12 am

    What’s next? Ban the use of the word “Tuhan”? Ban the use of the cross? If this is not oppression, I don’t know what else is. What rubbish….

  84. #84 by greenacre on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 10:58 am

    Well I was thinking of making a resolution for 2008. Yet the time and thought never came till now. Well as a Johorean I can’t sing the state anthem with the word ‘Allah’ anymore.

    Hindu god Murugan is going to rescue me and henceforth the anthem shall begin…

    Murugan peliharakan sultan
    anugerakan segala hormat
    sihat dan ria kekal dan makmur.

    and finally
    Murugan selamatkan sultan.

    YB Lim could you kindly call on the Johor government to act and allow hindus to sing with Hindu god.

  85. #85 by grace on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 11:06 am

    Similarly the state anthem of Kedah which starts with the line: Allah selamat…..
    How are the non-Muslims going to sing? Would they be charged under ISA?

  86. #86 by greenacre on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 11:14 am

    Dear Undergrad you mentioned this ‘Freedom of religion is guaranteed under our Constitution subject to the proviso under Clause (4) of the said Article 11.’

    I would comment on this for your kind knowledge as well as others who share this blog. Article 4 of the Federal constitution states that this ‘this constitution is the supreme law of the federation and….(note this) any law passed after merdeka day which is inconsistent with this constitution shall to the extend of the inconsistency be void.’

    Well according to Interpretation Act “merdeka” day means..31. August ,1957. The clause 4 mentioned in Article 11 was inserted via four amendment done in year 1974, 1976,1984 and 2001.

    Well the rest I leave it to readers here.

  87. #87 by kanthanboy on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 4:16 pm

    Is it not true that all decisions made by the Cabinet must be unanimous? If the rule still stands then the Cabinet decision to restrict the use of the word “Allah” to muslims only must has been supported by Bernard Dompok and other Christian ministers. Who are these Christian ministers besides Bernard Dompok? Bear in mind Matthew 16: 26 “ What good will it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul.

  88. #88 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 8:06 pm

    greenacre : Article 4 striking down any “law” after Merdeka which is inconsistent with the Constitution cannot strike down and invalidate sub-clause (4) of Article 11 (even though it came about via amendment subsequent to Merdeka) because, after amendment sub-clause (4) of Article 11 becomes part of the Constitution and no more a subordinate “law” conflicting with the Constitution.

  89. #89 by Evenmind on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 8:15 pm

    Well, firstly the morons monopolized the country’s economy , by taking a hugh pie for themselves, what now ? they want to monopolize God (Allah) as well ??

  90. #90 by hedonese on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 8:19 pm

    Election time – UMNO needs to play the racial, Islam card lagi… Sigh… I think this time, the rakyat in East Malaysia really need to show ’em that we will not accept such parochial politics…

    A friend of mine wrote: “The Malayan Declaration of Independence (1957) provides an outstanding example of how common usage of ‘Allah’ builds mutual understanding. The Declaration of Independence begins with the phrase “Dengan nama Allah yang Maha Pemurah lagi Mengasihani, segala puji bagi Allah yang Maha Berkuasa.” The Declaration continues to affirm an agreement between the Queen and the Malay Rulers whereby Malaya was granted Independence. Obviously, the Declaration assumes that both the Queen of England (who is the head of Christianity in England) and the Malay Rulers could appeal to the same supreme God (‘Allah’) to ratify their agreement. The Deputy Minister ought to take note that there was no hint of any confusion regarding the Independence granted to Malaya.”

  91. #91 by greenacre on Saturday, 5 January 2008 - 8:57 pm

    That is the reason I left it readers. If there is any truth to aka social contract, then that must be able to strike it down ..if ever.

  92. #92 by Yong Chee keong on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 5:01 pm

    Let us tell our children not to sing any State Anthem which has the word Allah. If HM asks why, Cabinet decision.
    The Rukun Negara does not apply to Muslims since there is the word Tuhan and not Allah.
    Islam Hadhari does not apply to non-Muslims since the first principle is belief in Allah.
    What happens to Christians and Sikhs in Sabah and Sarawak since they used the word even before joining Malaysia? If they were told of this earlier, maybe they would not have joined the Federation. This is especially true of Sarawak as they are a christian majority state – and maybe it is time to have a christian CM.

  93. #93 by Not spoon fed on Friday, 18 January 2008 - 7:44 pm

    The power of prayer is so great if you pray all together in a church that a Christian CM would head Sarawak.

    2008 is a revival year. Miracles would happen.

  94. #94 by lo on Tuesday, 5 January 2010 - 11:03 am

    Sebenarnya kalimah “Allah” tidak terdapat dalam kitab Taurat atau Talmud Hebrew atau kitab Injil Kristian dalam bahasa Latin, Greek atau bahasa-bahasa Eropah. Nama bagi Tuhan dalam bahasa yahudi ialah “Yahweh”, yang diterjemahkan kepada bahasa Inggeris sebagai “Jehovah”.

    Dalam kitab Injil, Jesus (Isa) dan God adalah sama. Tidak ada kalimah Allah dalam kitab Injil dalam bahasa-bahasa yang disebut di atas.

    Dalam usaha menerangkan agama Kristian di kalangan orang Islam atau masyarakat yang mahir dengan agama Islam, perkataan God diterjemah kepada “Allah” supaya mudah difaham oleh pendengar.

    Mungkin juga kalimah “Allah” dapat menyamakan agama Kristian dengan agama Islam kerana menyembah Tuhan yang sama. Dengan ini penerimaan agama Kristian oleh orang Islam boleh jadi lebih mudah. Terjemahan ini salah. Sepatutnya perkataan “Tuhan” digunakan untuk God.

    Tetapi dalam agama Kristian terdapat konsep “Trinity” yang mana terdapat “God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost”. Jika dalam bahasa Melayu terdapat dalam kitab Injil atau syarahan berkenaan “Allah sebagai Bapak, Allah sebagai Anak dan Roh yang Suci”, maka tentulah ini akan ditentang oleh orang Islam. Dalam Islam Allah tidak ada bapak, tidak ada anak. Ia tidak dilahirkan dan Ia tidak melahirkan sesiapa. Allah hanya satu. Ia tidak boleh disekutu dengan sesiapa.

    Di Amerika Syarikat, orang Kristian yang sudah tidak teguh iman biasa berkata dan menulis, “God is dead”. Apakah perasaan orang Islam apabila ini diganti dengan “Allah is dead”?

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