Anwar wants Najib to make a firm stand on the ‘Allah’ issue


Elileen Ng, TMI

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) wants Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make a firm stand on the “Allah” issue, on the back of heightened racial and religious tensions which has gripped the nation lately.

“You have to say with clarity what is your position. What is your view on groups threatening another May 13,” the opposition leader said in reference to Penang Umno members warning of another racial riot in protest of a PKR assemblyman for organising a kangkung flash mob which featured an effigy of Najib stuffed with the vegetable.

“What is your view on campaigns by party stalwarts that Islam is under siege?” he asked after a special address to Malaysians today.

Breaking his silence on the Allah row, Najib on Friday had said the 10-point solution allowing for the use of the word Allah in Malay and Iban language bibles is valid for Sabah and Sarawak, and any other state that does not forbid its use among non-Muslims.

The prime minister said in all other states, the use of the word will depend on their respective enactments, such as in the case of Selangor.

Putrajaya’s stand may open the way for individual states to forbid the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims either in worship or in their publications, taking the cue from Selangor, whose Sultan issued a decree prohibiting non-Muslims from using the Arabic term for God and 35 other Arabic terms.

Selangor’s 1988 enactment to prohibit the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims led to a raid by its State Islamic Religious Department on the Bible Society of Malaysia on January 2.

More than 300 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban were confiscated in a move that has caused an outcry in civil society.

Anwar said Najib was clearly upholding the 10-point solution but there is a “void” to it, which he did not elaborate further.

“That is clearly passing the buck. The legislation was initiated by the federal government and implemented by the state governments.

“Some state governments have full jurisdiction, while some made it clear that it is not under the state governments but under the Rulers.

“This is why we need a national consensus as this is a very complex issue,” he said.

The Permatang Pauh MP said in the spirit of the Federal Constitution, all parties must cease questioning the paramount position of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

He said in reaffirming the position of Islam and recognising that Muslims make up the majority of the population, Malaysians must reject the notion that Islam is under threat and that there is some sinister conspiracy to replace Islam as the religion of the Federation with some other religion.

“We must at the same time give due recognition to the same constitutional safeguards on all other religions in the land. We are a nation of communities comprising a plurality of faiths.

“In this regard, Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and practioners of ethnic religions must be accorded their constitutional freedom to practise their religion in the manner of their choosing,” he added.