PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 – A senior Christian member of the Cabinet, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, said Sabah adherents call God “Allah” because the younger generation are more comfortable using Bahasa Malaysia as Muslims remain outraged over a ruling that allows Catholic weekly Herald to use the term.
He also noted the term had been used for a long time, even before Sabah decided to form Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963.
“The Sabah communities have always used Bahasa Melayu as it is the regional lingua franca and Christianity has been in Sabah since 1881,” the Plantations Industry and Commodities minister said in a statement today.
High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s judgment allowing the Herald to use “Allah” has met with conditional support from PAS but anger and protests from Umno members.
The government has appealed against the decision and filed for a stay of execution.
Dompok said the Dec 31 ruling resulted in various comments, with half of them “not helpful to efforts to strengthen unity and relations among the races in the country”.
“I believe Justice Datuk Lau Bee Lan has examined every historical aspect and constitutional rights before making the decision,” the Penampang MP added.
He noted that the Christian Bumiputra community in Sabah, like the Murut and Kadazandusun, perform religious rites in three languages – English, Bahasa Melayu and their mother tongue.
“In the rites where English is used, the term is God while the rites in Bahasa Melayu is Allah and the one in the mother tongue, like Kadazandusun, is ‘Kinoingan’,” Dompok said.
He also said most churches in the cities use English while Bahasa Melayu is used widely in churches in rural areas in Sabah.
“Making Bahasa Melayu the national language and the medium of instruction in the education system have expanded the language’s influence among the Sabah communities.
“The generation born after this policy was made are more comfortable using Bahasa Melayu. They are also more comfortable attending religious service in the national language,” he said.
Dompok said the younger generation in the Christian Bumiputra community from Sabah who have migrated to the peninsula to work or for further studies have also asked church authorities to have services in the national language.
The Upko president said everyone must have the freedom to fulfil their religious duties in a peaceful manner and using the language and terms they are comfortable with for their rites.
Poetic justice, ain’t it.
Proponents of Ketuanan Melayu (particularly from the SSUS tribe – Sorry no links but I’ll drop a hint i.e. Kijang Mas, who share the same first letters) demand that their proposal for single language (BM) schools be accepted as fait accompli by Malaysians of other ethnic background and as a result, God’s name got dragged into the rantings of 70k plus Facebookers . Jamil Khir Baharom’s advice is clearly falling on deaf ears.
What’s next? Make it compulsory for East Malaysian christian bumis to wear the malay attire during Sunday church mass?
Or perhaps, “Allah tahu saya Kristian” should be the bumper sticker for 2010.
A rally is being organised on Friday 8th January. Let’s see how many will actually turn up. Plus will it be a purely malay muslim crowd with Ridhuan Tee being the ‘iconic’ representative for the chinese muslim community?
But will the PDRM grant the necessary police permits or will it be like the Shah Alam cowhead debacle whereby the PDRM will standby and just be observers?
Meanwhile, the Home ministry might yet get the High Court decision overturned at the COA through its appeal filed yesterday. And an ‘ultra-quick’ stay of appeal will be filed tomorrow to ensure ‘bruised’ sensitivities will fester further.
Thereafter, will the UMNO Baru led BN administration lose their ‘fixed deposits’ in Sabah and Sarawak during GE13 whilst trying to corral malay support in the Peninsular?
Yup, NTR’s strategic ambiguity of 1Malaysia is as misplaced as the whereabouts of the two F5 jet engines.
Update: 2200Hr 6/01/10
Homey sez ok to homies – Home ministry to allow protests against ‘Allah’ ruling
Excerpt – “As long as it does not affect national security, we will not stop it yet. We plan to get closer to the would-be demonstrators and try to talk to them first.”
Is the Home minister deliberately acquiescing to UMNO Baru red-necks brown-necks just as he did with the Shah Alam cowhead-carriers?
Hmmm .. be careful what you wish for, Hishammuddin.
The Net may have pretty ugly images before the day is over.