‘Allah’ remains in Borneo prayers


The former federal minister said Putrajaya should be ‘honoured’ that the Malay language is used in churches in Sabah and Sarawak.

Ng Suzhen, Free Malaysia Today

The Kuala Lumpur High Court can rule as it liked but Sabah and Sarawak will continue to use the word ‘Allah’ in the churches and in its publications, said respected former federal senior minister Bernard Dompok.

“This is a matter of language. If we are not allowed to use Malay, then maybe we need a new national language,” he said.

Dompok was responding to the high court’s ruling against the Sabah SIB church challenging the Home Ministry’s seizure of children’s religious books at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in August 2007. The books have since been returned.

The books, in Bahasa Indonesia, contained the words ‘Allah’, ‘Baitullah’, ‘Solat’ and Kaabah’.

SIB (Sijil Injil Borneo) had filed a judicial review over the confiscation in December 2007.

Dompok said the government should consider it “an honour for the Malay language to be used in churches.”

“Sabah and Sarawak will continue to use the word “Allah” in churches as it has always been used even before Malaysia was formed,” said Dompok, who had in January this year accused Putrajaya of offering ‘lip service’  on the guarantee of freedom of religion.

At the time he said, the government must ensure that the principles upon which the country was formed are upheld and “not trangressed for political expediency”.

Dompok was at the time reacting to the Selangor Islamic Department’s (Jais) raid on the Bible Society during which they seized 300 bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban containing the words ‘Allah’.

He said the Jais raid and yesterday’s ruling violated the Cabinet-endorsed 10 Point Resolution which allowed for the import of the Bibles in all languages including Bahasa Malaysia and the Indonesia translations.The deal also states that Bibles can be printed locally in Peninsualr Malaysia, sabah and Sarawak.