Wednesday, 16 October 2013

‘Allah’ ban a non-issue in the state

HARI RAYA KORBAN DISTRIBUTION: Abang Johari (right) presenting fresh beef to one of the recipients. — Photo by Kong Jun Liung

Sarawak Christians need not worry about using Allah to refer to God, ban does not cover East Malaysia

KUCHING: Christians in the Sarawak should not worry about using the word ‘Allah’ in their prayers to refer to God despite the Court of Appeal’s (CA) decision to bar the use of the word in the Catholic weekly publication ‘The Herald’.

Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said although the CA had made its ruling on Monday, the usage of the word ‘Allah’ is not an issue in Sarawak and Sabah.

“The ruling was made by the Court of Appeal. For Sarawak and Sabah, I don’t think it is an issue,” he told reporters during a ceremony to present fresh beef at Masjid Darul Na’aim, Kpg Lintang in conjunction with Hari Raya Korban yesterday.

The ceremony, which was organised by Sarawak National Youth Organisation (Saberkas) and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu from the Kpg Lintang sub-branch, was also attended by Samariang assemblywoman Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

A total of five heads of cattle were slaughtered and distributed to some 350 recipients in the Semariang area.

Abang Johari, who is also Tourism Minister added that the best thing to do is to make no further comment on the issue because it had nothing to do with Sarawak and Sabah.

The court’s decision prompted the Association of Churches of Sarawak chairman The Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok to issue statement calling the ruling “utterly irresponsible and grossly demeaning”.

Bolly, who is also the Anglican Archbishop for the Province of Southeast Asia and Anglican Diocese of Kuching Bishop, st ressed that Christ ians i n Sarawak “.. will continue to wor ship their ‘Al lah’ until kingdom come. What are they going to do about it?”

Anglican Diocese of Kuching Assistant Bishop Rt Revd Aeries Sumping Jingan said he could not buy the argument that the word ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of Christianity, especially when Sarawakians have been using the word ‘Allah Taala’ since 1848, long before Malaysia was even conceived.

According to Aeries, Bolly said the ban “is abhorrent, wholly unacceptable and a flagrant betrayal of the Malaysia Agreement, which guarantees the inalienable rights of the non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah to religious freedom.”

Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian also called the CA’s decision “illogical and preposterous”.

Baru, who is state PKR chairman, said the CA had ignored the historical facts which pre-date Malaysia and the rights to religious freedom under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“This decision of the Court of Appeal is a betrayal of the undertaking given to our forefathers when they agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia.” - theborneopost

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