Malay word for God is 'Tuhan'

comments     Fathima Idris     Published     Updated

I find Wong Yee Kiat’s ‘Allah’ controversy shows need for non-Muslim dept claim that since Arab Christians refer to God as Allah in Arabic, thus Christian Malaysians by virtue of the Federal Constitution should be able to do the same in Bahasa Malaysia, quite intriguing to say the least.

When did secular Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia become so accepting of Arab culture? So far, every time Muslims here use Arab terminology, expressions or attire, there has been a chorus of disapproval from them about Arabisation. Why then the sudden claim of affinity to the Arabs to the extent that Wong asks “Since ‘Allah’ is a general word that is not the registered intellectual property of Islam, why can’t Christians use the word?”

Let me ask him, if Allah is a general word then why does Herald use the word “Allah” only in its Bahasa Malaysia section? Why not refer to God as Allah in their English, Tamil and Chinese sections the same way the Arab Christians refer to God? Clearly this is being done to proselytise to Muslims, which is clearly against the constitution. This is why Muslims oppose it.

Quoting Wikipedia, Wong writes that “Allah is the standard Arabic word for God” but when was Allah ever a standard word for God in the Nusantara? The Malay word ordinarily used for God is “Tuhan”. Even when passages from the Quran are translated into Bahasa Malaysia the word “Tuhan” is used in place of “Allah”.

Thus if Wong is sincere in the assertion that Christians here refer to Allah since it “originated in the Arab world” then I believe they would have no objections to the first principle of the Rukun Negara being amended to read “Kepercayaan kepada Allah”.

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