No issue about using ‘Allah’ for God

Uggah fields questions from the media.

KUCHING: Christians in Sarawak are free to use the word ‘Allah’ for God.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said yesterday the usage of the word Allah among non-Muslims in the state remains a non-issue.

“In Sarawak, there is no issue. Don’t create an issue,” he told reporters after the handover of funds for houses of worship at the State Legislative Assembly here.

Uggah, who is also minister in charge of Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), was asked to comment on news reports quoting a proposal by Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla for Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to prepare an official Malay translation of the Bible to correct Christians alleged error in using the word ‘Allah’ for God.

Haniff had claimed the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak had wrongly used ‘Allah’ for God in Bahasa Malaysia, arguing that they should use ‘Tuhan’ and that this would not deprive them of their rights.

Commenting on the same matter, Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong also said Christians in Sarawak will not be affected by this proposal.

He pointed out that there is no official religion in Sarawak, and the word ‘Allah’ has been used by the Christian natives in Sarawak for many generations.

He also said the previous chief minister the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem had assured Christians in Sarawak that they can use the word ‘Allah’.

“To be very frank with you, Sarawak is not going to be affected by this. What is happening there (Peninsula) is not going to affect us.

“In Sarawak, there is no issue. Don’t create an issue. We don’t have to worry about this. That is why you and I can still use the word ‘Allah’ here. Sometimes I also say Insya Allah and Alhamdulilah in my speech, it is okay,” he said.

Haniff had made the proposal when appearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Thursday on Mais’ behalf as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to assist in the understanding of how the word ‘Allah’ is used in Islam.

Yesterday was the hearing of a lawsuit by Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill — a BM-speaking Bumiputera Christian from Sarawak —- against the Home Minister and government to uphold her constitutional rights that were said to be infringed by a local ‘Allah’ ban in Christian publications.

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