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Media Statement by Teresa Kok, DAP National Organising Secretary, MP for Seputeh and Exco for Selangor State Government On 8th May 2010 at Sibu:

BN’s candidate should declare his stand on the “Allah” issue

Barisan Nasional candidate in the Sibu by-election, Robert Lau Hui Yew, has the moral duty to declare his personal position in ban of the use of the word "Allah" by BN government.

I am disappointed with the statement made by Robert Lau in Malaysian Insider today where he shown a dubious stance on the banning of non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” by BN’s government. However, if Robert Lau intended to be a Member of Parliament that speak up for a Christian majority constituency, Sibu, then he has the moral duty to declare his stand on this thorny issue, so that the voters in Sibu can decide whether they can count on him to speak up on this issue and various issues related to the welfare of the people in Sibu in Parliament.

It is a known fact that Christians in East Malaysia have been using the word “Allah” to address God for centuries. However, the UMNO-led BN government has been making the Christians difficult by banning the import of religious materials and Bible from Indonesia in the past decades on the ground that the Indonesian Bible and Christian materials use the word “Allah” to address God.

The move of Home Ministry to ban the Catholic Weekly newsletters, The Herald from using the word “Allah” has forced the Catholic Church to bring the matter to court. When High Court declared that the Catholic Church has constitutional rights to use the word “Allah”, we have seen the UMNO leaders have not only openly criticized the court judgement, but they have even instigated fellow Muslims to protest against the High Court’s decision, thus resulted series of church attack incidents happened in Peninsular Malaysia.

The stand taken by UMNO/BN government has upset many Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christians in the country, including the Christians in Sarawak.

As a Christian candidate, Robert Lau should make his stand on the “Allah” issue, he should tell us whether he supports the BN government's actions, and whether he will be another robotic BN representative in the Parliament, if elected, and will just another rubber-stamp in every decision of the BN government.

Lau cannot continue to sidestep this issue by merely saying religion is a personal thing. Yes, it is a personal thing and that's why the government must not deny Christians a personal right they have enjoyed for centuries!

* Teresa Kok Suh Sim, DAP National Organising Secretary, MP for Seputeh and Exco for Selangor State Government



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