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KOTA KINABALU, March 19 ― Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today urged Putrajaya to reconsider its appeal against the ruling allowing Christians to use the word ‘Allah’, saying that Christians in East Malaysia have always been free to use the word.
PBS secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the issue is nothing new and was sorted a decade ago with a 10-point Standard Operating Procedure for Christians in both east Malaysian states.
“There is no hindrance for Christians in Sabah and Sarawak to use the word ‘Allah’ in their religious practices. It is time for our fellow Christians in West Malaysia to also enjoy the similar privilege,” he said.
He added that PBS adopts the same position and stand as the Sarawak state government.
“We fully identify and concur with the position stated by them.
“PBS is also aware that this is also the unspoken stand of the GRS (Gabungan Rakyat Sabah) since even before independence and before we became part of Malaysia. We have always enjoyed peaceful co-existence with all Sabahans irrespective of their religious beliefs.
“We will continue to preserve this religious unity and harmony. PBS as a multiracial party has always adhered to this belief and stand. There is no need to politicise the issue and we need not be influenced by the tactics of the opposition,” said Bangkuai.
On March 10, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that the government directive via a December 5, 1986 circular issued by the Home Ministry’s publications control division was unlawful and unconstitutional.
This government directive was the one that banned the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications.
Since then, the federal government has appealed against the decision, a move that was lauded by Malay-based political parties but did not sit well on Sabah and Sarawakian parties.