Category Archives: Chatolic Sabah

Police report on Muslim men spying in Malaysia Catholic churches

Let me just reproduce the press statement by two persons recently (on 8 July):

Al-Islam Police Report

We are deeply concerned that two Muslim men acting on false information that the Catholic Church was converting Muslims into Christians had recently entered a Catholic Church service for the purpose of gathering information as to whether this was occurring.

They were also investigating whether the word ‘Allah’ was being used in church services. These men participated in the church service and even took part in the rituals that are strictly for Catholics and in doing so violated the sanctity of what Catholics hold very sacred.

These men later wrote about their experience in an article entitled “Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja:Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad” which was published in the May 2009 issue or the Al Islam magazine.

Al-Islam May09

The men had consumed the ‘communion’ which is a white wafer which is blessed by the Priest in a Catholic ritual that dates back 2000 years. Via this ritual the ‘white wafer’ is supernaturally transformed into what Catholics believe to be Jesus Christ and when consumed allows Catholics to experience life after death. The ‘communion’ is held with great reverence and cannot in any way be mishandled or with a lack of respect. Even Catholics are not allowed to take home the ‘communion’ but are instructed to consume it immediately during the service. Catholics go through an elaborate process of preparing themselves to receive this ‘communion’ worthily and those who have not done so are advised to refrain from receiving it.

As such we are outraged that these Muslim men consumed it only to spit it out later, have it photographed and have its image published in the Al-Islam magazine. The total disrespect shown to what Catholics hold in closest to their hearts and believe to be most Holy strikes deep into our hearts and invokes much anger. While we are resolved not to allow anger to guide our actions and instead pray that these ignorant will be forgiven by the Allah, we want to know what has become of this most holy ‘communion’ and demand its immediate return to the church authorities.

We are further outraged that these Muslim men have violated our sense of privacy to freely worship. Would these men tolerate non-Muslims entering the mosque and violating the sanctity and holiness of their worship? We believe that all places of worship and the form of worship practiced in these places must be respected with the greatest sensitivity and reverence be they the church, mosque, temple or gurdwaras. Entering these premises with the intention to spy and worse to violate the sanctity of the worship only serves to incite anger and hatred that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences that would tear this country apart.

Al-islam May09 (2)

As such, as concerned Catholics, we have made a police report at the Patani Road Police station on 8th July 2009 and thereafter held a press conference at the same place. We requested that the police investigate this matter with great urgency and bring to books those responsible for acting to incite hate and resentment among the Catholic Community. We also call on the police to investigate both the Al-Islam magazine and the writers of the article.

Joachim Francis Xavier & Sudhagaran Stanley




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Evictions: Penang Bishop’s office issues statement

Rev Michael Thoo has released a press state statement from the office of the Penang Bishop. Here is the statement in full:

In response to recent and current newspaper reports on the “eviction exercise” of’ 14 houses within the grounds of the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Penang Road, 10000 Georgetown, Penang the church wishes to clarify as follows:

– There are 14 semi-concrete pre-war houses within the grounds of the Church of St. Francis, Penang Road, George Town, Penang. The houses are old and have no architectural value.

– Other buildings on the land are the St Joseph’s Home for orphans and children from broken homes, the Learning Centre for children with learning disabilities and the “Lighthouse” which provides free food for the needy and school buildings. These social welfare and charitable organisations are run and/or supported by the church.

– Twelve of the houses are occupied by monthly tenants paying nominal monthly rentals between RM60 to RM200. It is not true that all the tenants have not been paying the monthly rentals for the last 36 months as ieported in the issue of The Catholic Herald dated 31 May 2009 and The Star dated 2 June 2009;

– Two houses are presently empty.

– Unfortunately, one of the two tenants who vacated her house (No. 52-L, Penang Road, Penang) proceeded to remove the zinc and timber roof truss from the house thus creating a potential hazard.

When church’s workers started removing the plywood wall of the house to prevent the potential danger of the unstable wall from collapsing, the MPPP acted rightfully in requesting the church to stop work. The church regrets this inadvertent violation of the law. That house is infested by termites and is in danger of imminent collapse.

– The church has no record of the residents being there for four generations as reported. Some of the residents had moved out in the past and new tenants had moved in.

– The church intends to use the said 14 houses after refurbishment for its religious, welfiare and charitable purposes as it is doing now.

– The refurbishment of the houses will be done in accordance with Unesco and local council guidelines, regulations and by-laws.

– The church has no intention to sell the land to the Cititel Hotel group or to embark on a “property development project” as reported. Consequently, all such reports are baseless and mischievous.

– The church is mindful of the economic plight of some of the residents. It is for this reason that the church has decided to give them ample notice of two years to deliver vacant possession of the houses occupied by them. In addition, the church has also decided to give them an “ex-gratia” payment of RM10,000 per household in order to assist them to relocate. No rentals will be collected from the residents during these two years from 1 June 2008 till 31 May 2010.

Dated the 5th day of June, 2OO9.


Rev Michael Thoo
from the office of the Rt Rev Antony Selvayanagam,
The Titula

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Church not allowed to use ‘Allah’ till court’s July 7 decision

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The Catholic Church failed in its bid to get permission to use the word “Allah” while its suit to overturn the government ban is still being heard in the High Court.

Fr Lawrence may28

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew

The High Court here said the Catholic Church must wait until it decides conclusively on whether it is allowed to use “Allah” to refer to the Christian God.

“This means don’t use ‘Allah’ until the court decides,” said church lawyer S. Selvarajah.

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew who edits the Catholic newspaper, The Herald, visibly drooped when he heard the news.

The editor-priest had seemed in high spirits earlier and was confident the High Court would allow the church to use the word “Allah” for the time being. He had smiled frequently while speaking with reporters earlier.

Judge Lau Bee Lan set July 7 for the next hearing after dismissing the church’s request to stay the government ban, lawyers for both the church and the state told reporters this afternoon.

The arguments were carried out in the judge’s chambers instead of in open court.

If the High Court allowed the church to use “Allah” in a non-Muslim context, it would be helping the church commit an offence under state laws, a lawyer for the government explained to The Malaysian Insider.

According to a lawyer representing several state Islamic religious councils, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word “Allah” to refer to any God other than the Muslim God.

Abdul Rahim Sinwan referred to the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of non-Islamic Religious Enactment that was passed into law by 10 states in 1988.

The states are: Selangor, Malacca, Perak, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Perlis.

The Catholic Church is suing the Home minister to overturn the Home minister’s ban.

The lawsuit stems from the government’s assertion that “Allah” should strictly refer to the Muslim God in Malaysia. This is a view that the Catholic Church has been challenging.

The word “Allah”, the church argues, does not belong only to the Muslims.

The Herald is published in four languages, including the national language Bahasa Malaysia (BM), which caters to the indigenous Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak, who are mostly Christians.

Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed the suit on February 16 to get a declaration from the courts that the church has the right to use the word in print and in church services.

The Home ministry, which issues the annual printing permit for all publications, had warned the church to stop using the word.

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who headed the ministry then, claimed the church’s use of the word “Allah” in any literature published in BM would confuse Muslims, who make up the biggest religious group in the country.

This is the second consecutive year in which Archbishop Murphy Pakiam is suing the Home minister to settle the dispute over the use of the word “Allah”.

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200 faithfuls attend groundbreaking ceremony of proposed church

St[1].Catherine of Siena PutatanKOTA KINABALU: The ground-breaking ceremony for the proposed St. Catherine of Siena Church, Putatan officially took place yesterday.

The site is in Kpg Dimbaan, Putatan, a quarter kilometre from the Putatan/Penampang road, and is on a hilltop overlooking the Putatan new township and behind the Putatan Servay Hypermarket.

Bishop-John-LeeThe ceremony was performed by Reverend Arch Bishop Datuk John Lee, the Bishop of the Diocese of Kota Kinabalu, and witnessed by more than 200 faithfuls coming from the surrounding kampongs and parishioners from Stella Maris Church.

Despite the muddy condition of the site caused by the heavy rainfall the previous night, coupled with the early morning drizzle that made the organisers worried about poor attendance, the faithfuls however turned up in droves to be a part of this historic event.

Former Penampang district officer Stephen Sondoh welcomed all those present, in particular Reverend Lee for coming to officiate at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Sondoh first conceptualised the idea of building a new church in Putatan, a dream he had after he recovered miraculously from illness prior to retiring in February 2007.

He is also chairman of the Steering Committee while Rev Fr Fundes Motiung, Rector of Stella Maris Parish Church is the adviser.

Putatan MP Dr. Marcus Mojigoh who was also present said he was confident the project would be realised with the support of the faithful and the Diocese of Kota Kinabalu.

He pledged his undivided support to ensure the implementation of the church is carried out smoothly.

He would render his assistance in his capacity as MP of Putatan to see that the “dream” of the faithful in Putatan to have their own church is realised.

Dr Marcus also thanked members of the surrounding community for their “Mitaatabang” spirit that was very much evident when they cleared the surrounding site prior to the groundbreaking ceremony.

Meanwhile, Reverend Lee congratulated the Steering Committee as well as the Building & Technical Committee for their strong commitment in building the new church despite encountering financial limitation and constraint in financing the project.

He urged the faithful to rally behind the committee headed by Stephen and John Anthony respectively in order to successfully complete the project on time together with the bridge linking from the main road on the other side of the river to the site.

The Church, said Reverend Lee, will be the rallying point for the faithful to grow in their Christian faith.

“The building might be shaken but the faithful who are strong in their faith will not be shaken,” the Arch Bishop added.

The whole project is estimated to cost at RM3.95 millions and is to be implemented in stages depending on the collection from fund raising and donations from the public. As of May 10, a sum of RM200,945.92 (5.02 per cent of the project cost) has been collected.

Donors can either contribute in kind (bricks) or in cash. Cash contributions can be channelled through appointed members only or donate direct through Maybank payable to “RTDKK St. Catherine of Siena Church, Putatan, Sabah, Malaysia” under account no: 510189007514.

AK : Funny why direct funding  from State Government to individual churches cannot be done. In most case, Christian individuals  have to ‘korek their kocek’ donating $$$ in church building. The land itself donated by Madam Catherine Moinin. This is far different procedure compare to brotherly muslims. Malaysia bole..?

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Churches call for fresh elections in Perak

THE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES of Malaysia (CCM) is deeply troubled and concerned at the events that unfolded at the Perak State Assembly sitting on the 7th May.

The unruly scenes, the scuffles and the removal of the Speaker of the House by force, have all violated the dignity of the State Assembly and made a mockery of basic democratic principles that citizens have come to expect from a nation that champions human rights.

The power and authority of the Speaker have been undermined.

The police had overstepped its authority by the harassment of duly elected representatives, and of peaceful protestors exercising their rights of free expression guaranteed under the constitution. The police must remain above politics to have integrity and the confidence of the people.

The CCM realizes that the political crisis in Perak is a great worry to all just and peace-loving citizens of our country.

The CCM feels that it is time for the government to uphold its commitment to building a democratic and peaceful Malaysia by returning power to the people to decide by whom and how they should be governed.

To this end, the CCM joins civil society in calling the Sultan to exercise his sovereign power by calling for fresh elections in the state.

This is the only way to resolve the current political impasse.

As Christians, we believe that justice will have its day, because God expects that the nation is governed by principles of righteousness and justice.

As churches pray for the speedy resolution of the political crisis in Perak, we remember the words of the Bible:

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice….The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just” (Proverbs 21: 3, 7).

REV. DR. HERMEN SHASTRI, general secretary CCM

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iphoto_1240814370996-1-0jpgJAKARTA – An elderly Christian priest and his wife were hacked to death with machetes in Indonesia, police said on Monday. Frans Koagow, 64, and his wife, Femy Kumendong, 73, were found in the priest’s home in Manado city, North Sulawesi province, on Saturday with deep slash wounds to their heads and necks, provincial police spokesman Benny Bella said.


‘The priest was cut from behind in the neck while his wife was cut in the head while she lay down sick with a stroke,’ Mr Bella said. ‘The priest had been squatting down to tie his shoes when he was attacked… there was no time for him to fight back.’


Mr Bella said police were looking for suspects but were unsure how many people were involved in the attack. ‘We found a machete but we don’t know if it was one that was used in the murder,’ he said.

North Sulawesi province is a stronghold of mostly Protestant Christianity in Indonesia, where Muslims make up roughly 90 per cent of the national population. — AFP (Picture above shows: one of Asia’s tallest Jesus Christ statues in the mainly Christian town of Manado on North Sulawesi island)

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Malaysia Catholics oppose non-‘Allah’ Bible

bibleKUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — A Malay-language Bible that does not use the word “Allah” has caused controversy among Malaysian Catholics, as the church here fights a court case to guarantee its right to use the word. The Catholic Herald newspaper, in its Sunday edition, criticised the release this week at an international bookfair of the new Bible, which uses the Hebrew word “Elohim” instead of “Allah” for God. “The Catholic bible that the church uses has the word ‘Allah’ for God whereas in comparison, this one does not,” the paper’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew told AFP. “The new Malay bible weakens the argument for using the word Allah because some groups are trying to substitute God with a foreign name, whereas Allah is the Malay word for God and has been the accepted translation for centuries,” he said. “The publishers have copied substantially from the Indonesian bible which was approved by the Indonesian Bible Society and the Catholic Church but this new version has not been approved by the society or the church in Indonesia or here.” The publishers of the bible could not be reached for comment. The Catholic Church has taken legal action against the government after it was ordered not to use the disputed word under threat of having its paper’s publishing permit revoked. Malaysian authorities argue the word should be used only by Muslims, who form the bulk of the country’s multicultural population. ctl1Andrew said Malaysian Christians have been using the word “Allah” for centuries in translations of the Bible, and in popular prayers. The opposition has also called for the ban to be revoked. “The term ‘Allah’ has been used in Indonesia and the Middle East by Christians without prosecution or controversy, despite both being overwhelmingly Muslim-majority regions,” opposition lawmaker Tony Pua said. “It has been proven beyond doubt that it is not a term specifically monopolised only by Muslims,” he said in a statement Saturday. A court is expected to decide on May 28 whether the Church has the right to use the word. Around 60 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million people are Muslim Malays. The rest includes indigenous tribes, as well as ethnic Chinese and Indians, variously practising Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism, among others.


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