Remove conditions on use of ‘Allah’, Govt urged

KUALA LUMPUR: The Govern­ment’s approval for the word “Allah” to be used in Christian publications should be widened.

MCA Political Education Bureau head Gan Ping Sieu said conditional usage of “Allah” in print form was unacceptable and an affront to common sense.

He said the MCA acknowledged that the Home Ministry had heeded calls from Christian groups to allow the use of the word in their publications, albeit with conditions.

Gan pointed out that the Christian bumiputra’s right to use “Allah” should not be solely confined to Christian literature.

“The majority of Christians are bumiputras from Sabah and Sarawak and the orang asli, whose mother tongue is Bahasa Malaysia.

“Because they speak and pray in Bahasa Malaysia as it is their first language, the Government must lift the ban not only for printed publications but also for oral references to God as ‘Allah’,” he said.

Gan said that the latest government gazette was directed towards Christian publications but failed to include other religions that refer to God as “Allah”.

“The Government should come out clearer that ‘Allah’ may be also used by the Sikhs. There should not be different standards for different religions in referring to God as ‘Allah’ as it will confuse Malaysians,” he added.

In Petaling Jaya, the Council of Churches of Malaysia has made similar calls, adding that the Government should accept the use of the term “Allah” as a heritage that is not exclusive to one religion.

“We further urge the Government not to attempt to regulate or circumscribe its use through the introduction of preconditions and by punitive criminal legislation,” said the council’s general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri in a statement yesterday.

“This is an unfair imposition and unwarranted restriction on the practice of the Christian religion in this country,” he said.

“We regret that the Government did not see fit to engage with us before introducing this order.”

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