Guan Eng only using ‘Allah’ to earn points for liberalism, Dr M claims


(Malay Mail Online) – Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s proclamation that the state’s non-Muslims may use “Allah” is a ploy to portray rival leaders as intolerant, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad alleged today.

The former prime minister also repeated his insistence that the Arabic word for God was not necessary to Christians in the peninsula, but acknowledged that its use was customary to Bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak.

“This is a political issue brought by Lim Guan Eng to show that he is a liberal and that other government leaders are not liberal.

“It is a political ploy and should not be used by the general public,” he said during a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the Nusantara Youth Leadership Convention here.

Lim courted controversy last week when he said the ban on use of the word “Allah” does not apply to non-Muslims.

He backed his statement by pointing out that the Administration of Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004 and any resulting fatwas is not binding on non-Muslims.

Penang police are investigating Lim over his remark.

Controversy over non-Muslim use of “Allah” first erupted when the Catholic Church initiated a legal suit against the federal government after it was first banned from publishing the Arabic word for God in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly newspaper, Herald, in 2007.

Christianity is the third-biggest religion after Islam and Buddhism.

The issue has become a religious flashpoint in a country where the line between creed and ethnicity is often blurred.