Ho Leng promises to solve ‘Allah’ row

By Adib Zalkapli | The Malaysian Insider

SIBU, May 9 — DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng today made solving the “Allah” issue as his major campaign message in the Sibu by-election.

“If elected, I will call upon the prime minister and home minister to immediately cease the legal dispute with the Christian churches over these matters to protect the freedom of religion in Malaysia for non-Muslims,” said Wong.

The Sarawak DAP chairman reiterated his party’s stand for Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Robert Lau to make his stand about the ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah”.

“Lau cannot take an ambiguous stance on the Allah issue anymore, otherwise the people of Sibu, especially the non-Muslims will not trust Lau to speak up for them in Parliament,” the Bukit Assek assemblyman told a press conference here.

About 53 per cent of the 55,000 voters in the Sibu constituency are Christians.

The Chinese form about 66.6 per cent of the voters, the Christian Ibans 16.3 per cent, and the Malay/Melanau approximately 16.2 per cent.

“I urge Lau to stop running away from key issues which concerns the people of Sibu as well as all Malaysians,” said Wong.

“It is completely ridiculous that Lau blames Pakatan leaders for bringing ‘national issues’ into the by-election. It shows that Lau does not understand at all the role of a member of parliament,” he added.

Lau had said that the “Allah” row should not be brought into the campaign to avoid mixing politics and religion.

“Robert has squirmed from answering a simple question of whether the prohibition of the use of ‘Allah’ is a serious infringement on the rights of the people of Sarawak and Malaysian to the constitutionally guaranteed principle of freedom of religion for non-Muslims,” said Wong.

The issue started in 2007 after the Home Ministry invoked a 1986 Cabinet directive banning non-Muslims from using certain Arabic words when it refused to renew the publication permit of the Catholic tabloid Herald.

The Catholic Church later challenged the government’s decision, and on Dec 31 last year the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Herald has the right to use the word “Allah” for its Malay section.

In January, Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz assured the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak that the ban on “Allah” would not affect them.

Christians in West Malaysia also continue to face problems with the distribution of religious materials in the national language.

DAP has mobilised its church-going leaders to convince Sibu Christians to back the party with at least two high profile meetings with the community involving DAP national leaders.

The by-election was called following the death of five-term MP and Deputy Transport Minister Robert Lau Hoi Chew early last month.

Campaigning began yesterday and polling has been set on May 16.

  1. #1 by buy election on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 2:52 pm

    About the Allah issue, I was terribly disappointed that Robert Lau Hoi Chew did not raise any voice when he was still alive in the federal cabinet. Only a few of the bumi ministers from Sabah mentioned about it. Remember that Robert Lau was a Catholic, and I am not sure how many Catholic ministers are there in the cabinet. This is not an attack against Robert Lau, but rather the SUPP culture. They can only agree with the BN big brothers.

    SUPP position in BN is weaker than MCA. Because of that Sarawakian Chinese are really under-represented. We all have to think who will voice out for the Sarawakian Chinese. Indeed, Pakatan Rakyat can do it.

  2. #2 by chengho on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 3:11 pm

    the word ” Allah” no issue to Sarawak for the last 100 yrs …
    ho leng what had happened to you lately, too much mixing with Pas not good for your health

  3. #3 by wanderer on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 4:57 pm

    chengho stay away from Allah…you are blooming evil!
    hanjin has no place in a civilized society….

  4. #4 by Malaysian Voter on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 4:58 pm

    I believe the Christians in Malaysia want a permanent end to the confiscating of books and Bibles by the authorities. Since Pakatan Rakyat’s stand on the issue is that the word “Allah” can be used in Christian publications, then Christians should vote for Pakatan Rakyat candidates, otherwise it is like voting for the ban on the use of the word “Allah” by Christians.

  5. #5 by Winston on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 8:04 pm

    How in the world is the UMNO/BN government going to justify the fact that East Malaysians can use the “word” in their part of the country but when they set foot in the Western part, they would have committed an offense by using the same “word”?
    Utterly, downright stupid and idiotic?
    Don’t you think so?
    So, just dump such nonsensical party!

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 11:35 pm

    Can Ho Leng solve that problem the Christian church in Kepong is having?

    Apparently, the local MP there cannot solve the problem and neither can the Federal Territories Minister and his Deputy. So maybe Ho Leng or Teresa Kok can.

    The residents there have apparently constructed walls and fences around the church entry and exit points. It appears that City Hall gave them the approvals to do so.

    So how?

  7. #7 by dagen on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 9:58 am

    Allah is not a pas issue. Allah is an umno issue. Losing the jar of his preserved ketuanan somehow has great impact on his mind.

  8. #8 by dagen on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 10:02 am

    See umno playing god again. Vote umno and umno will let you have your god “allah”. If not umno will deny you your god!

    I think umno should just continue to play with their ketuanan. Pls do so in the presence of chengho. That would be nice. Chengho’s ketuanan is incomplete. See how he reacts.

  9. #9 by johnnypok on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 5:48 pm

    Allah will cause BN to lost the Sibu by-election, and then punish BN/UMNO in the coming GE13, for all the sins that they have committed.

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