Malaya/Malaysia is a Secular State: Minister Jamil Baharom is Wrong

The Malaysian Insider easily refuted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datul Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who asserted simplistically (and I would venture to say, insincerely) that Malaysia is not a secular state. Re: Look Up the History Books, Malaysia is a Secular State : “A Malaysian minister is insisting that Malaysia is not a … Continue reading “Malaya/Malaysia is a Secular State: Minister Jamil Baharom is Wrong”

The Malaysian Insider easily refuted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datul Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who asserted simplistically (and I would venture to say, insincerely) that Malaysia is not a secular state. Re: Look Up the History Books, Malaysia is a Secular State :

“A Malaysian minister is insisting that Malaysia is not a secular state, and that is anchored in Islamist roots because there are the Malay rulers and state Islamic laws exist for Muslims. That argument might have worked if it was just Malaya…But you know what, Mr Minister, we are now in Malaysia…The reality is, of course, different. Malaysia is a secular state where the rule of law is supreme. The Federal Constitution is the basic law, not the Quran.”

I would go further and assert that the Minister’s argument won’t work even if we restrict the case just to Malaya. We only need to go back to read the Foundational Documents of the 1957 Federal Constitution at the formation of Malaya. For example, the Reid Commission states unequivocally that Malaya is a secular state: Continue reading “Malaya/Malaysia is a Secular State: Minister Jamil Baharom is Wrong”

No Need to Comply When JAIS Abused its Limited Power to Harass non-Muslim Institutions

Much of the public discussion over the recent JAIS raid on Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) has focused on who should be held responsible for an illegal raid. I shall briefly note that UMNO went on a road show to support JAIS after the seizure of the Bibles.  We cannot overlook the insincerity and failure … Continue reading “No Need to Comply When JAIS Abused its Limited Power to Harass non-Muslim Institutions”

Much of the public discussion over the recent JAIS raid on Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) has focused on who should be held responsible for an illegal raid. I shall briefly note that UMNO went on a road show to support JAIS after the seizure of the Bibles.  We cannot overlook the insincerity and failure of the Federal government to honor the 10 points. Selangor MB deserves criticism for not reprimanding JAIS and instructing it to redress its illegal raid (granted he faced political constraints and impossible circumstances after the Sultan’s decree). The issue has become a political football passed between AG, the Home Ministry and the Selangor government. Let blame be rightly apportioned to all these wrongful parties. Continue reading “No Need to Comply When JAIS Abused its Limited Power to Harass non-Muslim Institutions”

Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments

The Allah dispute is the focus of 3 court hearings this week. Taking the risk of committing the sin of boring repetition – here are 3 short arguments why Allah is not exclusive to Islam. First, ﷲ Allâh (al-ilah) is historically derived from a common noun (ilah), which is not a proper noun/personal name (Nama … Continue reading “Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments”

The Allah dispute is the focus of 3 court hearings this week. Taking the risk of committing the sin of boring repetition – here are 3 short arguments why Allah is not exclusive to Islam.

First, ﷲ Allâh (al-ilah) is historically derived from a common noun (ilah), which is not a proper noun/personal name (Nama Khas). It is just a common reference to a divine being in general or to the Most High God in monotheist culture, along with other related references in the Semitic languages – Hebrew el, eloah, Syriac alaha etc.  Sibawayh (the father of Arabic grammar), noted the etymology of the word was disputed but suggested a Syriac connection as al-Ilaah, Allah results when one attaches ‘al’ with aliha and alaha. More importantly, the word ﷲ Allâh was used by Christians and other Semites long before the emergence of Islam. Continue reading “Why Allâh is Not Exclusive to Islam: 3 Short Arguments”

PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)

Customers are painfully aware that redemption coupons often are not what they seem to be.  Remember the old customer advisory, “What the bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away.” One can only feel let down after reading the fine print in the “Terms and Conditions Apply” section stipulating the coupon is valid only at … Continue reading “PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)”

Customers are painfully aware that redemption coupons often are not what they seem to be.  Remember the old customer advisory, “What the bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away.” One can only feel let down after reading the fine print in the “Terms and Conditions Apply” section stipulating the coupon is valid only at certain branches. Worse still, the customer service may refer to a hitherto unannounced in-house policy which says the coupon is valid only for ‘privileged members’.

To be fair, PM Najib finally comes clean with the fine print “terms and conditions” of his 10-point redemption coupon. Indeed, he highlighted it in bold print. As reported,

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated today that state enactments on the use of terms deemed exclusive to Muslims override the Cabinet’s more generous 10-point agreement on the matter. “The 10 points are subject to state constitution and enactments. Where there are state enactments, they will supersede the 10-point agreement,” he told reporters. “We have made our stance clear.” [Themalaymailonline 27/01/2014]

Still, PM Najib was quick to assure the East Malaysians that he has “special terms and conditions” for them. The STAR (24 Jan 2013) in “Najib: 10-point Resolution on Allah Issue Subject to Federal, State Laws” reported,

Najib… took note of the Cabinet’s 10-point resolution on this matter in 2011, which among others, allows the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak to continue using the word Allah in the Malay version of the Bible. However, he said the points therein were subject to Federal and state laws.

“This means that if the state has an enactment (on use of the word Allah), it is subject to this. If the state does not have such an enactment, like Sabah and Sarawak, so the usual practice will be continued and no party should scare others,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato Onn on Friday.

However, East Malaysians, especially Sabahans, should be guarded in accepting the PM’s assurance or redemption coupon. They may be in for a rude shock as the customer service of the PM’s ‘Departmental Store’ has a track record applying ambiguous in-house policy to reject redemption coupons. For example, some goods (supposedly Islamic terms) can only be sold to privileged members; a fortiori, customers cannot use redemption coupons to get them.

Put concretely, Sabah Christians should be aware that the state has gazetted on 1 June 2003  a fatwa prohibiting non-Muslims from using 32 so-called Islamic terms under the Enakmen Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam 1992.

Under normal circumstances, fatwas should have no bearing on non-Muslims. That is to say, a fatwa must be gazetted to have legal effect (on Muslims).  But a fatwa, even one that is gazetted, has no application to non-Muslims since it is still being gazetted under the state Shariah enactment, which does not apply to non-Muslims. Continue reading “PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)”

Good Govt Will/Must Protect Religious Freedom From Doubtful Court Judgment

It is arguable that the COA judges in the recent Allah court case violated a well-known dictum in jurisprudence that judgments should be minimalist. That is to say, judges should interpret the law narrowly, if a broad interpretation would likely incur social injustice or encroach on religious freedom. It makes matters worse when authorities apply … Continue reading “Good Govt Will/Must Protect Religious Freedom From Doubtful Court Judgment”

It is arguable that the COA judges in the recent Allah court case violated a well-known dictum in jurisprudence that judgments should be minimalist. That is to say, judges should interpret the law narrowly, if a broad interpretation would likely incur social injustice or encroach on religious freedom. It makes matters worse when authorities apply these doubtful judgments to discriminate against the minority Christian community.

It is vital for citizens to be informed correctly about fundamental liberties in the Federal Constitution so that they are able to reject any wrongful interpretation and application of the law arising from the COA judgement. For this purpose, I am pleased to recommend that you read two helpful articles written by Mr. Andrew Khoo in Malaysiakini.

CFM’s Clear and United Stand & a Challenge to the Government to Come Clean on the Allah Issue  LINK . Go Directly to Malaysiakini

Bible Raid: Federal Govt Cannot Act Like Pontius Pilate Wash its Hands LINK. Go Directly to Malaysiakini

 

 

The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?

The raid of Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) by the Selangor Islamic authorities, JAIS (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor) is a flagrant violation of religious liberty and a deliberate affront to the dignity of the Christian community. LINK JAIS’ action suggests that a threshold in inter-religious relations has been crossed, that is, the Islamic authorities have … Continue reading “The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?”

The raid of Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) by the Selangor Islamic authorities, JAIS (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor) is a flagrant violation of religious liberty and a deliberate affront to the dignity of the Christian community. LINK JAIS’ action suggests that a threshold in inter-religious relations has been crossed, that is, the Islamic authorities have progressed from harassing to persecuting Christian minorities in Malaysia.

The raid is not unexpected, given the orchestrated agitations and provocations coming from Islamic authorities and NGOs in the last few weeks. The decree by the Sultan of Selangor which bans non-Muslims from using the Allah word was followed by a statement by JAIS new Director declaring that JAIS will be sending warning letters to all churches. Islamic NGOs followed suit with police reports against Herald and the Catholic Church. Next, the former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir accused Christians of irritating Muslims in using the Allah word, and the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin publicly supported UMNO Selangor in its campaign against the editor of Herald. Strangely, the Prime Minister has remained silent although he has personally guaranteed Christians their right to use the al-Kitab a few years ago. The ominous beating of war drums can only lead to hostile action against Christians. Continue reading “The Beginning of Persecution of Christian Minorities in Malaysia?”

Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah

Following the Court of Appeal judgment, the Prime Minister assures Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the judgment only bans the Catholic Herald from using the Allah word. A few cabinet ministers suggest the 10-Point agreement continues to allow these Christians to use the Christian al Kitab notwithstanding the Allah word. The PM’s assurance sounds … Continue reading “Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah”

Following the Court of Appeal judgment, the Prime Minister assures Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the judgment only bans the Catholic Herald from using the Allah word. A few cabinet ministers suggest the 10-Point agreement continues to allow these Christians to use the Christian al Kitab notwithstanding the Allah word.

The PM’s assurance sounds feeble, wishful and arguably misleading when the Appeal Court judgment prohibits the Christian community from using the Allah word on grounds that the word is not integral to Christian faith, that any religious practice must be circumscribed or limited by Islamic sensitivity, and finally, that the prohibition is necessary for national security.

Be assured that officers from JAKIM and the Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran (The Publication and Quranic Texts Control Division) will be waving at Christians the Appeal Court written judgment when they decide in due time (chosen at their convenience) to raid a Christian institution and seize its publications or stop any activity deemed offensive to Islamic sensitivity. Continue reading “Will the Real Prime Minister Please Stand Up?- Defending Kalimah Allah”

Semantik Kalimah Allah

  Semantik Kalimah Allah* Kita mendekati pembahasan kata “Allâh“ dari sudut bahasa. Kata “Allah” berasal dari dua kata: al, dan ilah, Al adalah kata sandang (band, bahasa Inggeris; the), dan ilah bererti: yang kuat, dewa. Dalam bahasa-bahasa Semit,kata ini menunjuk pada kuasa yang ada di luar jankauan manusia, yaitu pada dewa. Sudah di masa pra-Islam, … Continue reading “Semantik Kalimah Allah”

 

Semantik Kalimah Allah*

Kita mendekati pembahasan kata “Allâh“ dari sudut bahasa. Kata “Allah” berasal dari dua kata: al, dan ilah, Al adalah kata sandang (band, bahasa Inggeris; the), dan ilah bererti: yang kuat, dewa. Dalam bahasa-bahasa Semit,kata ini menunjuk pada kuasa yang ada di luar jankauan manusia, yaitu pada dewa. Sudah di masa pra-Islam, al-ilah disambung menjadi Allah. Dan dalam agama orang-orang Arab pra-Islam, kata ini digunakan untuk menunjuk pada dewa yang paling tinggi di antara dewa-dewa yang lain yang masing-masing mempunyai namanya sendiri. Namun kata Allah itu sendiri bukan nama, seperti di atas diterangkan. Dengan demikian, kata Allah sudah ada dalam zaman jahiliyya. Ia bukan ciptaan orang Islam ia juga tidak baru muncul dalam Al-qur’an Alkarim, melainkan ia merupakan kata biasa dalam bahasa Arab lepas dari ikatan dengan salah satu agama tertentu. Continue reading “Semantik Kalimah Allah”

Appeal Court Inept Judgment Based on Internet Research

The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on 14/10/2013 over-ruled the earlier decision by Justice Lau Bee Lan in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to allow Christians (Herald) to use the word Allah. The wide ramifications of the Appeal Court decision calls for careful analysis to ascertain whether it is based on accurate facts which are … Continue reading “Appeal Court Inept Judgment Based on Internet Research”

The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on 14/10/2013 over-ruled the earlier decision by Justice Lau Bee Lan in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to allow Christians (Herald) to use the word Allah. The wide ramifications of the Appeal Court decision calls for careful analysis to ascertain whether it is based on accurate facts which are foundational for a coherently argued and impartial judgment. I shall focus on the judgment delivered by one of the three judges, Justice Mohd Nawawi bin Salleh, since it ostensibly examines the facts pertaining to the legitimacy of Christians (the Herald) using the word Allah. Continue reading “Appeal Court Inept Judgment Based on Internet Research”

Welcome to Ketuanan Islam (Supremacy of Islam) in Malaysia

PREAMBLE TO THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION OF MALAYSIA (2013)* There is no God but the God of Islam, and the Court is his Herald. All religions must be subject to the supremacy of Islam. All citizens are equal but Muslims are more equal than others. Cut to the chase, the Court of Appeal judgment released on … Continue reading “Welcome to Ketuanan Islam (Supremacy of Islam) in Malaysia”

PREAMBLE TO THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION OF MALAYSIA (2013)*
There is no God but the God of Islam, and the Court is his Herald.
All religions must be subject to the supremacy of Islam.
All citizens are equal but Muslims are more equal than others.

Cut to the chase, the Court of Appeal judgment released on 14/10/2013(No.W-01-1-2010) which prohibits Christians from using the word Allah is based on the supremacy of Islam in Malaysia. The judges identify “the community” as Muslim and relegate other religious believers to “group”.  Since “group” is inferior and subordinate to the superior “community”, the judges ruled, “the welfare of an individual or group must yield to that of the community.” Continue reading “Welcome to Ketuanan Islam (Supremacy of Islam) in Malaysia”