In London, Najib defends Allah ruling for security, harmony reasons

Once again, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has chosen to open up on a touchy subject in Malaysia while travelling abroad, defending the court ruling which effectively banned Christians here from using the word Allah.

He said that the curb against the Catholic weekly, Herald, using the word Allah was necessary to protect public security and national harmony, going as far to describe the Herald as a publication with wide circulation.

The Herald publishes 14,000 copies every week and all are sold within the confines of churches.

In an interview with Reuters in London, Najib said: "People must understand that there are sensitivities in Malaysia, but what is important is public security and national harmony."

The prime minister also said that the Court of Appeal decision only covered the Catholic Herald and that the government would not stop people using the word in predominantly Christian areas.

"With respect to the court ruling it only applies to the Herald paper, which has got wide circulation, and doesn't apply to the situation in Sabah and Sarawak.

"So what we are trying to do objectively and above all is to ensure stability and national harmony," he said on the sidelines of the World Islamic Economic Forum.

Najib's interpretation of the Court of Appeal's decision does not square with what Christian leaders, constitutional law experts and former attorney general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman have said about  the effect of the October 14 decision.

Critics of the court's decision argued that the judges' decision that Allah was not an integral part of Christian worship carries wider consequences beyond the Catholic Herald.

Putrajaya has attempted to placate Christians in Sabah and Sarawak – an important vote bank for Barisan Nasional – by stressing that the court decision does not stop them from using the word Allah when worshipping but this concession has not appeased church leaders who point out that many East Malaysians now live and work in West Malaysia.

Christian leaders also have pointed out that Christians have used the word Allah for over 100 years, certainly way before the independence of the country in 1957, and done so without causing any confusion among Muslims or disharmony in the country.

Najib's comments on the Allah court decision at least gives Malaysians an insight into his position on the ruling. So far, he has only assured East Malaysians that a 10-point plan to resolve outstanding
issues involving Christians is still intact.

A key component of that plan, unveiled by the government in 2011, allows the import of Malay-language bibles which contain the word Allah.

Najib generally stays clear of controversial subjects and rarely has press conferences at home where he speaks on a range of issues.

This is in contrast to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who took on all questions, from the mundane to the serious, from the press when he was the PM.

In September, Najib had told the United Nations General Assembly that there was a need for al-wasatiyyah, or the practice of moderation, as a key tool in fighting extremism despite moves to restrict the spread of Shia Islam in Malaysia.

Mainly Muslim Malaysia follows mainstream Sunni Islam teachings but a number of Malays have been persecuted for being Shias. Islam is a state matter but the federal religious authorities also play a large role in regulating religious affairs.

Critics said the prime minister should have denounced such restrictions which include raids and arrests, adding it went against his call for moderation. – November 1, 2013.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options