In Allah We Trust

In Allah We Trust
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Malaysian Crusade: Allah issue threatening racial unity

KUALA LAMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak is struggling to put things in perspective and ended up instead insulting his own intelligence. First he goes to declare that MCA needs political “viagra” to get its act in order.

Maybe Najib was being cheeky by taking a dig at former MCA chief Chua Soi Lek whose extra-marital affair came to light after he was caught in the act and which led to him quitting mainstream politics.

But then the “viagra” analogy did not go down well with both MCA and outgoing president Chua. Still, Najib, however, was far from perturbed, oblivious to the fact that associating MCA with “viagra” was the worst co-relation he could think of.

Then came the issue concerning the use of the word “Allah” by the non-Malays. During the Umno general assembly early this month, Najib had insisted that “Allah” was exclusive to the Muslims.

It did not end there. The premier later dropped hints that it was best Christians ended its battle over the “Allah” row and abided by the Constitution.

Najib’s biased and undemocratic stance has further divided an already divisive nation. To outgoing Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, this was the last straw that broke the camel’s back which led to Pakiam openly castigating the premier saying it was Najib who should stop preventing the Catholics from using the word “Allah”.

Responding to Najib’s call for Muslims and Christians to end the national-level debate over the use of the word “Allah”, Pakiam on Christmas Day voiced his worry that Najib’s insistence that “Allah” remain exclusive to the Muslims was inciting right-wing groups against the Christian community.

To Pakiam, it was Najib who was adding to the confusion by saying “Allah” can only be used in Sabah and Sarawak, but banned here in the peninsula.

“But still, he is the prime minister, so I have to pray, God, please help him to see his mission, his duty for the whole country, not for just Umno, ,” Pakiam had lamented.

The row over the “Allah” issue undeniably had a hand in Pakiam tendering his resignation as the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur on Dec 6 upon reaching the retirement age of 75.

To some, the speed with which the Vatican accepted Pakiam’s resignation raised alarm bells, with some speculating that the Vatican was disappointed with Pakiam’s “soft approach” over the “Allah” controversy.

The episode started in 2008 when Catholic newspaper The Herald was ordered by the Home Ministry to stop using the word “Allah”.

The Catholic Church took the matter to court and won a High Court decision in 2009 upholding its constitutional right to do so.

Unhappy with the court verdict, Putrajaya counter-challenged the decision and was successful in overturning an earlier decision when the Court of Appeal on Oct 14 this year ruled that “Allah” was not significant to the Christian faith.

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