‘Allah’ ruling makes ‘criminals’ of Bumiputera Christians, says Sarawak group

The Malay Mail Online
June 27, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Bumiputera Christians have become “instant criminals” after the Federal Court ruled to uphold a lower court decision against allowing the Catholic Church the use of the word “Allah” for God, the Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship (SMF) said.

The umbrella group representing evangelical missions in the state noted that the bulk of Bumiputera Christians were from East Malaysia where the bibles in their native tongues or in the national language contained “Allah”, but adding that thousands of Sarawakian Christians worked or studied in the peninsula where their word for God was now barred to them.

“Are they to become instant criminals the day they start reading their bibles in their mother tongue?” the group’s chairman, Rev Daron Tan said in a statement.

Tan claimed that Bumiputera Christians in Sarawak had been referring to God as “Allah Taala” for the past 150 years, a situation that is now untenable due to the apex court’s decision on Monday.

He noted that the Federal Court ruling on Monday “had made criminals of Malaysian Christians when they pray and address God as ‘Allah Taala.’”

He accused the top court of having abdicated its duty when it refused the Catholic Church the chance to argue its case, as well as doing itself a disservice by missing out the chance to prove to the world it is capable of coming up with a “reasoned and intellectually satisfying” decision on the controversial issue.

“The court had displayed cowardice in refusing to face the questions posed to it and had failed the whole of Malaysia in not giving its true legal opinion on the dispute between the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the said.

The Sarawak Christian group also hit out at the Barisan Nasional-led federal government, accusing it of riding on political expediency when putting out its 10-point agreement in the months before the Sarawak state elections in 2011.

It criticised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for promising the ban on the use of the word “Allah” would not be enforced in either Sarawak or Sabah, stressing that the assurance was mere rhetoric that has no legal or principled basis.

“The Sarawakian Bumiputera Christians have been badly let down by their leaders. We cannot continue to wait or depend on empty promises or uncertainty for religious freedom to be restored.

“The BN government created the mess we are in and it should resolve the problem. The Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship demands that state and national leaders religious freedom.

“Stop-gap, temporary emotion-soothing are unacceptable and not working,” the group said.

It demanded the government review its position on the ban and to bring its regulations in line with Arab-speaking Muslim-majority countries.

On Monday, a seven-member bench at the apex court delivered a slim four-to-three majority decision to not hear the Catholic Church’s bid to appeal a lower court ban preventing it from using the Arabic word.

Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that “Allah” was not integral to the Christian faith and that the home minister was justified in banning the Herald from using the Arabic word on grounds of national security and public order.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 27 June 2014 - 5:27 pm

    Silly S’kians n Sabahans 4 agreeing to be components of M’sia in 1963

    All your rights r slowly and surely eroded away and you have become criminalized by outsiders in your own land, LOL

    • #2 by cemerlang on Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 11:44 pm

      Because nobody foresaw;Temenggong Jugah, Tun Tan, Mr Thivy, Tun Abdul Rahman and whoever who were around at that time of birth of Malaya and later Malaysia knew that the land would fall into the hands of people who do not love the country at all.

  2. #3 by yhsiew on Friday, 27 June 2014 - 10:35 pm

    The world is laughing at such stupidity!

  3. #4 by yhsiew on Saturday, 28 June 2014 - 6:37 am

    The A-G who applies to intervene in the two interfaith child custody cases must also intervene in the “Allah” ruling to make Bumiputera Christians NON-CRIMINALS, otherwise public perception that the A-G is biased will arise.

    • #5 by cemerlang on Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 11:46 pm

      Are we moving forwards or are we moving backwards ?

  4. #6 by Bigjoe on Monday, 30 June 2014 - 9:14 am

    Average Sarawakian is barking up the wrong tree talking to Putrajaya. What they should really do is tell their local Sarawak leaders that they know their corruption means that eventually Sarawak will be victim to UMNO nonsense just as Sabah already too late is.

    Average Sarawakian should tell their local leaders to do more than just TALK to putrajaya. Average Sarawakian should demand that their local leaders either take over Putrajaya or they should end all ties with it..

    • #7 by cemerlang on Monday, 30 June 2014 - 1:37 pm

      A Sarawakian for the Prime Ministership of Malaysia. That cannot be average.

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