By Chew Lip Song
IN a rare show of unity, lawmakers from Sarawak and Sabah have asked Putrajaya to withdraw the appeal to a High Court decision which ruled that the use of “Allah” in non-Islamic material was not against the Federal Constitution.
Fifty-four legislative members from the Dewan Rakyat, Dewan Negara and the respective state assemblies in Sarawak and Sabah signed the statement. They represent 10 political parties, both ruling and the opposition, and include independents.
The lawmakers are from the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Democratic Progressive Party (PDP), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Bersatu, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), the DAP, Warisan and Upko.
“In Sabah and Sarawak, Bahasa Malaysia is popularly used among the Christians due to the National Language Act 1967 and the National Language Policy as well as the National Education Policy which have reversed the deterioration of the Malay language during the colonial period.
“The Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak support and do not feel threatened by Christians who worship Allah as they are from the Abrahamic faiths,” the group said in a statement.
The group added that the Cabinet’s decision in 1986 to deny non-Muslims to use “Allah” arose from political pressure from people in Malaya who were insecure and ignorant about the environment in Sabah and Sarawak and had arrogantly thought that they could determine how the people in the two states should live.
“This group of people thought that they were the centre of the universe and refused to accept the fact that Malaysia comprises of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak which are of equal status,” the statement added.
The group said the High Court decision was a “victory” for Malaysia and would strengthen the federation by allowing Christians in Sabah, Sarawak and the Orang Asli to worship Allah as freely as the Dayak in Kalimantan.
The group called on the Prime Minister to withdraw the appeal to bring a closure to this issue and called on politicians not to capitalise on the subject.