Sabah Christians annoyed over Christian Minister’s remarks

Ongkili had said challenging the government ruling banning the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims was “something wrong and should have not been taken.”

Malaysia
February 11 2014, 6:13 PM
Sabah Christians annoyed over Christian Minister’s remarks
Federal Minister Dr Maximus Ongkili

Federal Minister Maximus Ongkili’s criticism of the litigation pursued by Catholic weekly, The Herald, on the ‘Allah’ issue has irked Christians in Sabah province.

Ongkili had said challenging the government ruling banning the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims was “something wrong and should have not been taken.”

Ongkili, a Catholic legislator from Kota Marudu who had joined the Protestant church SIB, said that he had no problem in not calling God ‘Allah’ as there were many other names for his God like ‘Tuhan’, ‘Elohim’, ‘Yahweh’, ‘Adonai’ and ‘Kinorohingan’, the last one in his Dusun dialect.  

Many SIB leaders are believed to be against the Catholic weekly’s action in challenging the Home Ministry order which triggered Muslim extremists’ animosity towards Christians.

Sabahans feel that Ongkili has implicitly sided with the views of Malaysia’s Islam-centric administration. “Maximus (Ongkili) seems to disregard the foundation of the formation of the country,” Sabah PKR assemblyman Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said in a statement on Sunday.

He said Ongkili’s stand contradicted his own position as a deputy president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) when he said that PBS upholds religious freedom.

“I have no problem with his theological discourse on the (Allah) issue but I am totally against his political stand,” said Bumburing, a Catholic.

Bumburing said that the federal constitution guarantees freedom of religion and that was what initiated the court action by the church.

Pointing to a recent sermon prepared by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia that said that Christians and Jews were enemies of Islam and Muslims were under ‘siege’, Bumburing said “Allah issue” had reached a very dangerous level and the government must act fast before things get out of control.

Bumburing said that in contrast to Ongkili’s statement, comments from Sabah chief minister, Musa Aman and one of his deputies, Yahya Hussin, were reassuring. They had said that the province had no problem with Christians using ‘Allah’ to denote God.

Source: The Herald Malaysia