Nazri: OK to use ‘Allah’ in East Malaysia

(Free Malaysia Today) – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz has told a local newspaper the  word ‘Allah’ is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah.

This is because the  government  accepts that the natives in these two states have traditionally  been using it in  their prayers and religious services and the Muslims there are accustomed to this practice, he was quoted as saying in an interview in Kuala Lumpur with the Borneo Post.

He said: “Christians in Sarawak and Sabah need not worry over this issue because it is a common tradition there. I have been to an Iban church service and I heard the word ‘Allah’ used there.”

However, “Allah is not allowed to be used by churches in Peninsular Malaysia and Christians from the two states have to respect this ruling when they are in the peninsula,  Nazri said.

Asked why there are two sets of rules for the nation on the use of the Arabic name for God, he said this was not a unique practice as Malaysia also has two sets of laws on other matters, citing as an example the existence of two court systems, the syariah and the civil courts.

He explained that the situation in West Malaysia was different as the name “Allah” was introduced into Christian worship and publications only a few years ago.

He said: “Muslims here in Semenanjung cannot accept it as ‘Allah’ was never used in Christian preaching until recently and they question the motive behind the substitution of ‘Tuhan’ for ‘Allah.’

“It is clearly stated in our constitution that no other religion can be propagated to Malay Muslims and this article has been enacted in all states headed by a sultan. So this excludes the Federal Territory, Penang, Malacca, Sarawak and Sabah.