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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Muslims Have No Monopoly over 'Allah'


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In the past, Bukittunggal.com had published many articles that argue on the usage of word "Allah" by christians in Malaysia but most of its were written by non-muslim writters. Today I am publishing the article written by Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) the Malaysian opposition leader and the ex-Deputy Prime Minister under Tun Dr Mahathir.
His opinion  shown that he agrees with the Hig Court decision in allowing Catholic Herald to use the term "Allah" for god. His opinion was based on thorough study of the issues and  the views from muslims worldwide and not just based on the opinion of religion scholars from Malaysia.
Let's read his article below:


Malaysia has once again resurfaced in international headlines for the wrong reasons. Over the last two weeks, arsonists and vandals attacked 10 places of worship, including Christian churches and Sikh temples. Though there were no injuries and the material damage is reparable, the same cannot be said about the emotional and psychological scars left behind. After numerous conflicting statements from government officials, the underlying causes of the violence are still unaddressed. Malaysia's reputation as a nation at peace with its ethnic and religious diversity is at stake.
Malaysia's poor handling of religious and sectarian issues is not unique. The ill treatment of minority groups in Muslim countries is often worse than the actions Muslims decry in the West. I have called attention to the broader need in the Muslim world for leadership that demonstrates consistency and credibility in our call for justice, fairness and pluralism. These values are embedded in the Islamic tradition as the higher objectives of Shariah expounded by the 12th-century jurist al-Shatibi.
We have seen Muslims around the world protest against discriminatory laws passed in supposedly liberal and progressive countries in the West. Yet just as France and Germany have their issues with the burqa and Switzerland with its minarets, so too does Malaysia frequently fail to offer a safe and secure environment that accommodates its minority communities.
The recent arson attacks exemplify what's wrong with the way Malaysia regards its non-Muslim citizens. The attacks were provoked by a controversy over the use of the word "Allah" by Malaysia's Christian community, which numbers over two million, or about 10% of the population. In late 2007, the Home Ministry banned the use of the word by the Herald, a Catholic newspaper, and later confiscated 15,000 copies of Malay-language Bibles imported from Indonesia in which the word for God is translated as "Allah." A Dec. 31, 2009 ruling by the Kuala Lumpur High Court overruled the earlier ban, asserting constitutional guarantees regarding the freedom of religion in Malaysia. Since then, an already tense situation boiled over, largely due to incitement by a few reckless politicians, the mainstream media and a handful of nongovernmental organizations linked by membership and leadership to the United Malays National Organization, the ruling party.
For example, Utusan Malaysia, the nation's largest Malay-language daily—which is also owned by UMNO—has inflamed Muslim religious sentiments by accusing non-Muslims of desecrating the name of the "Muslim" God and alleging a Christian conspiracy to overrun this predominantly Muslim nation through conversion. I have seen these incendiary propaganda techniques used before, when politicians and demagogues exploit public sentiment to garner support by fomenting fear. Such tactics are useful diversions from embarrassing scandals ranging from controversial court decisions, to allegations of exorbitant commissions extracted from military procurements, to the theft of two jet engines from the inventory of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. This behavior has been exacerbated since the ruling party lost its two-thirds majority in parliament last year. UMNO is now desperately struggling to regain public support.
Few Muslims around the world would endorse the claim that we have a monopoly on the word "Allah." It is accepted that the word was already in the lexicon of pre-Islamic Arabs. Arabic's sister Semitic languages also refer to God as "Allah": namely, "Elaha" in Aramaic, and "Elohim" in Hebrew. Historical manuscripts prove that Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christian and Jews have collectively prayed to God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, as "Allah" for over 1,400 years. The history of Islam in Southeast Asia is known for its pluralistic and inclusive traditions, and amicable relations between Muslims and non-Muslims have been the norm for generations.
Muslim scholars outside of Malaysia thus find our "Allah" issue absurd and cannot fathom why it has sparked protest and outrage. Minority Muslim populations living in the West, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11, have diligently tried to remind the public that Muslims, Christians and Jews share common Abrahamic roots and ultimately worship the same God.
Local sensitivities have been aroused over this issue. They should be handled through dialogue and engagement. Instead of permeating a sense of insecurity or a siege mentality, Muslims must be encouraged to engage and present their concerns to the Christians in a constructive manner. The example of Muslim Spain is a moment in our history to which Malaysian Muslims should aspire. But efforts toward fostering a convivencia are not only found in the past. The ongoing "Common Word" initiative, a global effort launched in 2007 that captured the support of over 130 of the world's most prominent Muslim scholars, has made historic progress towards building goodwill among Muslims and Christians to find ways to live in sincere peace and harmony. It is ironic that noble efforts such as these are being undone by the actions of Muslims themselves.
Malaysia's international reputation has taken a beating since Prime Minister Najib Razak was sworn in last year. Despite his efforts to promote national unity, news about the caning of a young Muslim woman charged with drinking, the mutilation of a cow head in protest of the construction of a Hindu temple, ill treatment of Muslim converts who revert to their earlier faith and even the outlawing of the practice of yoga by Muslims have many at home and abroad wondering which direction Malaysia is headed under Mr. Najib's leadership. There are already misgivings about governance, human rights, the rule of law and rampant corruption; Malaysia dropped 10 spots on Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perception Index, our worst showing in over 15 years. The vision of Malaysia as a peaceful and stable location for investment, tourism and migration is now in peril.
This matters most for Malaysians who have to contend with an increasingly polarized social and political landscape. Malaysia cannot afford to be held hostage by the vested interests of a few who manipulate faith and identity as a means to elicit fear for political and economic gain. This is old politics, and it has become clear that those who incite hatred are only doing so to prolong their monopoly on power. The majority of Malaysians reject this approach. They realize that overcoming the challenges we face—a stagnant economy, declining educational standards and rising crime—depends on our ability as a nation to internalize and make real the principles of fairness and justice to all.

By Datok Seri Anwar Ibrahim


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William Mawan Asked to Resign as SPDP President

Kuching
Thursday, 28th January 2010

The crisis in the Sarawah Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) deepened with some members calling for William Mawan to resign as president of the party, but Mawan dismissed the demand.

“I will not bow down to personal feelings of some members,” he said, pointing out that he would not abandon the responsibility and the trust placed upon him by those who had elected him.

Explaining his stand


This is Mawan...I will not run away from my responsibility!..SPDP President answers the press


“I am elected unopposed as president and I have a duty to those who elected me. I will not run away from my responsibility. This is Mawan,” he said yesterday when asked by Malaysian Mirror to comment on demands by Peter Gani for him to resign to solve the present crisis.
“I appreciate the feelings of my friend Gani, but resignation is not an option for me. I will not bow down to pressure. I have a long-term strategy and the interest of members and the party to think about.
Gani, an SPDP founding member, had called on Mawan to resign, saying the members had lost confidence in his leadership.

Grassroots, not aides, decide fate

In Sibu, Tamin branch chairman Engkail Bunyau said branch members want the president to listen to the wishes of the grassroots rather than to just close aides. He described Mawan’s decision to replace Sylvester Enteri as secretary-general with Nelson Balang Rining as “untimely”.
Colourful Iban/Dayak politic. It is normal in any Iban/Dayak organization. The subordinates never respect the leadership of the party. Look what happened to SNAP, PBDS, PRS and the latest crisis is SPDP. All of the crisis started by direspectful  of the president by party members!...Bukittunggal.  


Batu Danau state assemblyman Paulus Gumbang, who was one of those who had walked out during the supreme council meeting in support of Enteri, said he was shocked that the top leadership was engaging in underhanded politics.
He said the leadership should set a good example as such politics would only divide the party and weaken its powerbase.

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Dissent grows louder

Dr Rayong the Partyless State Assemblyman is Selling Himself

Kuching
Thursday, 28th January 2010


Dr Johnical Rayong-The Iban Desperado, Liar and Traitor in Engkelili

Sarawak State election is just around the corner. Judging from past history, the election should be held within this year.
Due to political crisis and betrayal , two assemblymen in sarawak cabinet have been partyless. One is Larry Sng and another is Dr Johnical Rayong. Between the two assemblymen, Dr Rayong is the most vulnerable in term of their chances to win back their seat in the coming election.
Larry Sng, historically and finacially he is more capable , and he can win the seat on any ticket whether on BN or on opposition . Whereas for Dr Johnical Rayong the only way how he could win back the seat is through BN. He will not be able to win the seat on independent ticket because if he has to stand on independent candidate he will be facing the BN and the opposition. This time he will not ge the support of the  Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as he had already betrayed them.
Based on the Boeneo Post report lately, Rayong has been actively lobbied himself to be the BN candidate by attending the functions organised by BN in Engkelili area. And the last effort by Dr Rayong was published in the Borneo Post today. According to the report, Dr Rayong urged BN leaders to accept him as a BN candidate in the coming state election. He gave two reasons why BN should accept him as BN candidate, as he said :-
(1) "The people want local candidate and I am from -Skrang , I am local".
(2) "The proof is enough. I've pledged my allegiance and I have handling out Minor Rural Project (MRP) funds to the people of this constituency ever since I was elected in 2006".
In refering to his reasons, I have no comment for item (1) as he is indeed from Skrang-under Engkelili. But for item (2) I am not convince with him. He is a liar or in Iban we call it "bula" (pronounce as bulak). Let's look back how this bula state assemblyman member won the seat during the election held in 2006.
As we all known, before the election in 2006, a group of ex-PBDS members who were partyless, wanted to form-up  the malaysian Dayak Congress, but due to objection from some dayak leaders (people speculated Jabu Numpang a self-proclaimed "Panglima Iban/Dayak"  ) the   registeration was not approved. While waiting for their appeal, some of those group used SNAP and other opposition parties to compete in the election....Dr Rayong was one of them. He stood the election using SNAP symbol, and his opponernt  was Krai Pillo from SUPP ( BN ). He garnered 3,442 votes compared to SUPP’s Johnathan Krai Pilo with 3,016 votes.
But after winning Engkilili on a SNAP ticket, Dr Johnical quit the party and declared himself a BN-friendly assemblyman. He has since been knocking on BN’s door with a lot of encouragement from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP). But the question is whether the other BN members willing to accept him to the fold as it can become the precedent in the future. Judging from history (Remember Kebing Wan who defeated BN candidate in Baram never accepted back to BN fold ?).

How many alternatives does he have?

As I see it, there are two available alternatives for Johnical Rayong. One is to stand the coming-election on BN ticket. In order to stand on BN ticket he must get closer to BN, unite all SUPP supportes in Engkelili and try to win their supports. And the most importantly he must be able to convince the SUPP leaders that he can be trusted.
Secondly, quit politic. Based on his past track record, this type of politician should not exist in Sarawak especially to the dayak/Iban. While the Ibans are far left behind compare to other races, with this type of leader/politician, we will not progress in the same pace with the others. In other to progress well with the other races in Malaysia, we need a dynamic and loyal leaders.
Today we can't found any dynamic and loyal leaders in BN but outside its such as in PAKATAN RAKYAT, we have a choice. We still have hopes there such as in a form of sdra Baru Bian.
For the dayak/Iban out there especially in Engkelili...One day Dr Johnical Rayong will betray you just like what he did to SNAP after he won the seat under SNAP in 2006.

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