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Media Statement by M. Kula in Ipoh on Wednesday, 6th January 2010:

Allah word controversy - Home Ministry should explain facts to the people

Media report says that PAS central political bureau has endorsed the use of the word "Allah", saying that it was consistent with the Federal Constitution and Islamic principles.

It was reported that Party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who chaired the meeting, only warned that the word "must not be misused or abused so as not to affect the racial and religious harmony in the country".

I commend PAS for coming out to state that the use of the word is consistent with the Federal Constitution and Islamic principles.

In fact, many people may not realise that the word has long been used by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.

A Cabinet member, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has revealed that the term had been used for a long time, even before Sabah decided to form Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963.

“The Sabah communities have always used Bahasa Melayu as it is the regional lingua franca and Christianity has been in Sabah since 1881,” he said in a statement yesterday.

There are people who have reacted against the High Court’s ruling as they are not aware of the historical fact revealed by Bernad Dompok.

In fact, due to this historical background, the Home Ministry should not have imposed a ban on the use of the word in the first place.

Undoubtedly, the Allah word controversy is a sensitive issue which can threaten racial and religious harmony if exploited by irresponsible people, the Home Ministry therefore has a responsibility to explain to Malaysians the existence of this historical fact and the Federal Constitutional guarantee on freedom to practice one's religion.

* M. Kula Segaran, DAP Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat



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