Home Media statements 2007 Media Statements Herald permit: PM must make his stand in the national interest

Herald permit: PM must make his stand in the national interest

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herald.jpgAliran is flabbergasted that the usage
of a single word ‘Allah’ could be the basis for the denial of a
fundamental right guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. The Herald, a Catholic weekly, has been warned it could lose its
publication permit over its use of the term in its Malay-language

Malaysians are truly dumbfounded that the use of a single, widely used term to refer to the Almighty could be the basis for denying a basic right – the freedom to publish.

The term ‘Allah’ has been used for
centuries without any problem or confusion. It has been the common
term used by Muslims and Christians alike in the Arab world to refer
to God

It has also been widely used in
Malaysia to refer to the Almighty. There was no problem, no confusion
and nobody got upset by this common term of reference. Deputy
Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum’s sudden claim to
exclusivity for the usage of the word thus does not make sense.

Languages are the common heritage of
humanity. Because of this, the various languages developed and grew
rich in expression. They absorbed words and expressions from one
another and, in the process, languages became expressive, expanded
and spread across the world.

Our own Bahasa Malaysia is littered
with numerous words absorbed from many foreign languages. We have
even stopped using existing words in preference to newly coined terms
to reflect modernity and the scientific world. If foreign countries
were to claim exclusivity for all these terms, what would become of
Bahasa Malaysia?

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Aliran also understands that the line,
Ya Allah Yang Maha Kuasa…” forms part of the Pahang
state anthem. Does that mean that non-Muslims should not sing the
Pahang state anthem? Johari must state his stand in this matter.

In the meantime, Malaysians wait with
bated breath for the Prime Minister, who has been preaching tolerance
and promoting Islam Hadhari, to clarify this matter and state his
stand. Specifically, Malaysians would want to know whether he shares
Johari’s stand.

Aliran Executive Committee

22 December 2007

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