Friday, January 8, 2010

Why only now?

Herebelow is my letter to Malaysiakini ....

I am perplexed, very perplexed as to why Umno is pursuing the 'Allah' issue only now when they could have rectified the problems years ago. Let's look at the following facts:

Fact 1: Sarawak and Sabah joined the Malaysian federation in 1963. And forty years later, they decide to ban the use of the word by non-Muslims? Why now and not then? For 400 years, East Malaysians Christians have been using the word and to have it suddenly yanked away, how does one suppose the community would feel at such a callous act? Where is the empathy from Umno?

Fact 2: The Herald has been in publication since 1994 with the Bahasa Malaysia supplement incorporated in 1995. I am very sure the officers in the home ministry must have vetted every issue for subversive contents but for 16 years, or at least 14 years (the last two years in dispute because of the usage of the word), why didn't the government reject their annual renewal application?

Fact 3 : The so-called BM bibles distributed in East Malaysia are from Indonesia. So are we to believe that Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population, is wrong while Umno is right in not allowing the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims?

Simply put, this is not a religious issue but a political one. When Umno is doing well at the polls and enjoying a good majority in Parliament, I guess everything is A-okay but when they were almost shown the door in 2008, they needed to find some ways to redeem themselves - at least in the eyes of the Malay Muslims - that they are the defenders of the faith.

Umno is trying to implant into the minds of the local Muslims thatThe Herald is the cause of the current problem but as can be seen from the above three facts, it is not so. Umno and their associates still think that we are living in the 16th , 17th , 18th or 19th centuries when Christian missionaries from Europe came here to convert the locals.

This is a direct insult to the Christians as we don't stoop that low to engage in such activities. I wonder how many of us have seen a Catholic priest walking around in a taman preaching to the residents? For almost five decades the word 'Allah' has been used but do you find Muslims getting 'confused' or churches being burnt (until this morning)?

For 47 years since Sabah and Sarawak joined the federation and 16 years since the publication of The Herald, did we witness Muslims being converted en masse? All this is nothing more than fear being implanted into the minds of the local Muslims who Umno knows would be gullible enough to take the bait. How else can one explain the rationale for the prime minister to give the go ahead for the planned demonstrations supposed to have taken place today?

Therefore we are having a government that operates on whims and fancies and this is very unsettling to say the least.

Umno can ban all they want but that will not stop the Christians in East Malaysia from using the word during their services or masses unless they station some religious police to sit in during each service.

What about the church administrations? Are they going to filter every document that goes in and out of the parish office to see whether 'Allah' is being mentioned? This would be an affront to the federal constitution as far as freedom of religion is concerned.

With more and more information emerging from the Internet, I am wondering how Umno is going to ban the World Wide Web from 'confusing' the minds of the Muslims.

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