Political leaders from Sarawak and Sabah are urging the Federal Government to withdraw its appeal against the High Court’s recent ruling which allowed non-Muslims to use the word “Allah”.
In a joint statement today, they called upon all Malaysians to accept the High Court ruling on March 10 that declared as unconstitutional the ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims since 1986.
The statement carried a list of 53 parliamentarians, assemblymen and members of the Dewan Negara from both states.
A majority of the assemblyman were from Sarawak at 23. They include members of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Democratic Action Party.
They said the withdrawal of the appeal would end the 35-year-old polemic and pain felt by many Sabahans, Sarawakians and Orang Asli, and that it would also be a positive legacy for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“We also call upon all political parties to not exploit the High Court’s decision for their narrow political mileage.
“Let this be a closure for all and a step forward in national reconciliation so that we meet Allah’s plan that makes us different for us to know and love each other,” they said.
They said the federal government and Malaysians should accept and not appeal against the High Court’s ruling declaring the ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims as unconstitutional.
“It is a blessing that all Malaysians can pray to Allah in mosques, churches and gurdwaras,” they said.
They explained that the Christians who use “Allah” and other common religious words shared with Muslims are predominantly Borneans and the Orang Asli, who speak Bahasa Malaysia as their second or first language.
They likened them to the Christian Bataks, Dayaks, Ambonese, and Timorese in Indonesia who speak Bahasa Indonesia as their second or first language.
“In Sarawak, Bahasa Iban uses “Allah Taala”, Bahasa Bidayuh uses “Tuhan Alla” while the Lun Bawangs, Lun Dayehs and Kelabits use the term “Tuhan Allah” for God,” they said.
They pointed out that the popularity of Bahasa Malaysia amongst Christians in Sabah and Sarawak is the outcome of the National Language Act 1967, the National Language Policy and the National Education Policy.
“Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak are supportive of and never feel threatened by their Christian siblings, cousins, and friends praying to Allah, the one God in all Abrahamic faiths.
“Borneans genuinely believe that humans are made differently to know and love each other, not to disparage and discriminate against each other, and that presence of diverse religious communities is Allah’s will for He who is almighty could have made all humans in one faith.”
They said that Muslims and Christians praying to Allah in mosques and churches will not cause apostasy of Muslims.
“The best evidence is that Muslims constitute near or more than 90 percent of the population in the Arab countries and Indonesia, despite Muslims and Christians share ‘Allah’ and other religious terms for 1,442 years and 476 years,” they said.
They added that the 1986 Federal Cabinet decision to deny non-Muslims the right to pray to Allah was an oversight caused by political pressure and ignorance about Sabah and Sarawak.
They said the High Court’s decision was merely correcting an injustice suffered by Sabahans, Sarawakians and Orang Asli.
“The High Court’s decision is a victory for Malaysia, which will make our union stronger. It will enable Sabahan, Sarawakian and Orang Asli Christians to pray freely as their Dayak brothers and sisters across the border in Kalimantan do.
“The High Court’s decision is also a victory for Bahasa Malaysia as national language and all its speakers, and a respect for the speakers of Bahasa Iban, Bidayuh, Lun Bawang, Lun Dayeh and Kelabit, languages of heritage in the land of Borneo,” the statement said.
The joint statement was issued by:
Members of Parliament
- Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau (P170 Tuaran)
- Chan Foong Hin (P172 Kota Kinabalu)
- Datuk Darell Leiking (P174 Penampang)
- Noorita Sual (P181 Tenom)
- Vivian Wong Shir Yee (P186 Sandakan)
- Datuk Christina Liew (P190 Tawau; N20 Api-api)
- Mordi Bimol (P192 Mas Gading)
- Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (P195 Bandar Kuching)
- Chong Chieng Jen (P196 Stampin)
- Datuk Willie Mongin (P198 Puncak Borneo)
- Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Anak Jaem (P199 Serian)
- Masir Kujat (P202 Sri Aman)
- Wong Ling Biu (P208 Sarikei)
- Larry Sng (P209 Julau)
- Alice Lau Kiong Yieng (P211 Lanang)
- Oscar Ling Chai Yew (P212 Sibu)
- Baru Bian (P214 Selangau)
- Anyi Ngau (P220 Baram)
Dewan Negara Members
- Adrian Lasimbang
- Alan Ling Sie Kiong
- Donald Peter Mojuntin
- Robert Lau Hui Yew
Sarawak State Legislative Assembly
- Dato Ranum Mina (N1 Opar)
- Datuk Harry Henry Jinep (N2 Tasik Biru)
- Violet Violet Yong Wui Wui (N10 Pending)
- See Chee How (N11 Batu Lintang)
- Miro Simuh (N18 Serumbu)
- Martin Ben (N22 Kedup)
- John Ilus (N23 Bukit Semuja)
- Datuk Snowdan Lawan (N30 Balai Ringin)
- Dr Johnical Rayong (N33 Engkilili)
- Gerald Rentap Jabu (N36 Layar)
- Rolland Duat (N48 Meluan)
- Alexander Vincent (N49 Ngemah)
- Allan Gramong (N50 Machan)
- Irene Mary Chang Oi Ling (N51 Bukit Asek)
- Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (N53 Bawang Assan)
- David Wong Kee Woan (N54 Pelawan)
- Christopher Gira (N59 Tamin)
- Wilson Nyabong (N61 Pelagus)
- Jefferson Jamit (N63 Bukit Goram)
- Kennedy Chuk Pai (N66 Murum)
- Chiew Chiu Sing (N68 Tanjung Batu)
- Majang Renggi (N70 Samalaju)
- Dennis Ngau (N77 Telang Usan)
Sabah State Legislative Assembly
- Datuk Ewon Benedick (N11 Kadamaian)
- Peto Galim (N18 Inanam)
- Tan Lee Fatt (N19 Likas)
- Phoong Jin Zhe (N21 Luyang)
- Jannie Lasimbang (N25 Kepayan)
- Datuk Peter Anthony (N42 Melalap)
- Calvin Chong Ket Kiun (N55 Elopura)
- Frankie Poon Ming Fung (N56 Tanjong Papat)
- Justin Wong Yung Bin (N69 Sri Tanjong)
– Borneo Post Online