DAP expressed grave disappointment at the Federal Court decision on 23 June 2014, in refusing to grant the Catholic weekly The Herald's application for leave, to appeal the Court of Appeal decision which upheld a Home Ministry ban against it from using the word 'Allah'. By refusing to even gant leave to appeal, the Federal Court not only negates the right to seek justice in the highest law courts but also denies the right to be heard on a fundamental legal and constitutional right of freedom or religion and freedom of expression.
What is equally disappointing is the BN Federal government’s announcement that it is committed to the 10-point solution, mooted on 2 April 2011 by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, allowing Malaysian Christians to still use the word ‘Allah’ in church. This is the contradictory and even hypocritical position by the BN Federal government that it respects and asks all parties to abide by the Federal Court decision but that the court ruling only applies to The Herald newspaper’s use of the word ‘Allah’ and not the right of Christians to use “Allah” in church.
Clearly this contradictory and confusing position of the word “Allah” can be used but “Allah” can also not be used is made with the view of the forthcoming Sarawak state general elections. The BN Federal government has no record whatsoever of keeping its promises in Sabah and Sarawak. In Sabah its promises of rotating the Chief Minister’s post amongst different communities was scrapped and abolished. Similarly its promises of a higher oil royalty or even 1Malaysia price to have equal pricing for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak has not been fulfilled.
If the BN Federal government promises that it will respect the 10-point solution in that Allah can still be used in church, why did they ban it in The Herald in the first place? Can the BN be trusted that the word “Allah” not be permitted for use in a Catholic publication but still allowed to be used in a church? This illogical reasoning is similar to the perverse claims by desperate UMNO and BN leaders that the ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims only applies to Peninsular Malaysia but not to Sarawak and Sabah when Federal Court rulings applies throughout the country.
Non-Muslims will not forget that when Perkasa threatens to burn bibles, no action is taken. Worse UMNO leaders even tried to justify such calls. Similarly no action is expected to be taken when on 23 June 2014, Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim had threatened to behead those who ridicule Islam or the sultan. Such hate speeches and violence appears to be given encouragement, when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak shockingly called on UMNO party members to emulate Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant(Isil) militant and terrorist suicide bombers as Isil were able to defeat an Iraqi force although they were grossly outnumbered 1,300 to 30,000 troops.
This is the first time that a Malaysian Prime Minister has asked his party members to learn from terrorists and suicide bombers. Is the Prime Minister then going to ask Isil to set up an office here in Malaysia so that UMNO members can learn from them?
Pro-UMNO groups have been exploiting this non-existent fear of Malay Muslims being converted by apostasy by the tens of thousands. So far there is no proof whatsoever, but this suits UMNO political purposes of using fear to putting Malays and Muslims under siege, so has to distract attention from the real economic issues of rising cost of living, rising personal housheld debts as well as rising cronyism and corruption.
DAP believes that ordinary Malaysians regardless of race or religion whether from East or Peninsular Malaysia can see through BN and UMNO’s failure to address these real issues. Malaysians will choose a government that focuses on these real problems the people faces daily rather than a party like BN and UMNO that only knows how to play with imaginary fears in our minds.
LIM GUAN ENG