‘Allah’ row: Ibrahim calls MCA ‘biadap’

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid, Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Firebrand Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali blasted MCA leaders as ‘biadap’ (rude) for calling the home ministry to rescind its ban on the usage of ‘Allah’ by Christians, saying the demand could jeopardise national security.

“I would consider the demand a rude one as it is disrespectful towards the country’s Malay Muslims. It is kurang ajar (extremely rude),” he told FMT in an immediate reaction to the revived spat over the rights to ‘Allah’.

On Monday, Loh Seng Kok, the deputy chairman of MCA publicity bureau, called on Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to repeal the ban since he is aware that it has turned into a divisive national issue, which can become BN’s ‘Archilles heel’.

“By doing so, he will be respected as a BN leader who looks after rights and interests of all Malaysians, including protecting the constitutional rights of minorities. Moreover, by withdrawing the prohibition, he will be able to defuse the controversy which has already been politicised unnecessarily,” Loh said.

Hishammuddin told reporters on Sunday that the ‘Allah’ ban may be his ministry’s darkest episode and that it may ‘haunt’ it for a ‘very long time’.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin warned MCA leaders against calling for the repeal of the ban, reminding the second biggest
BN component party that it must accept the decision of the government and should not start another debate on the word ‘Allah’.

Muhyiddin then scrutinised MCA’s stance on the matter, questioning why it was agreeing with the views shared by their rivals, the DAP.

Don’t play with fire, warns Ibrahim

Ibrahim backed Muhyiddin and accused MCA of political prostitution. He said MCA leaders were quick to exploit the issue for political mileage and warned them against raising the issue.

“MCA just wants political mileage. They shouldn’t play with fire because this issue is very sensitive to Muslims. Although Christians in other Islamic nations like Indonesia use Allah, the situation is different here,” he said.

Ibrahim’s sentiment is shared by other conservtive Islamic scholars who argued that using the word ‘Allah’ outside the Islamic context would create confusion and anger among the nation’s majority Malay who are by default, Muslims.

Loh, however, said no religion can claim exclusivity over the term, as the word ‘Allah’ has been traditionally used by other religions.

On Dec 31, 2009, the Catholic Church won a landmark court ruling, upholding its constitutional right to print the word ‘Allah’ in its newspaper, but a government application to stay the ruling has prolonged the case.

MCA president: Just raising a concern

On a related development, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek clarified that his party does not share the same stand with DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims.

He said that MCA held a dialogue with the Christian Federation of Malaysia last week and that the NGO felt that there was a need for the issue to be resolved as soon as possible.

He explained that MCA was only voicing out the wish of the NGO since the issue has not been resolved when it was brought up last year.

“We are not making the same stand with DAP. We only want to the BN government to resolve the issue as soon as possible so that it will not be further exploited by the opposition,” he added in a statement.