The MCA Youth Legal Bureau is appalled by the recent political manoeuvre by the Penang Chief Minister, YAB Lim Guan Eng, in declaring that the ban of the use of the ‘Allah’ word is not binding on the non-Muslims in Penang when in actual fact, he had agreed to a gazette which prohibits the non-Muslims from using 40 words including the ‘Allah’ word in 2010.
Firstly, the Honourable Chief Minister had gone to great lengths to state that the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004 is not applicable on non-Muslims in Penang but he has failed, refused and/ or neglected to explain the need to prohibit the use of the 40 words if the state enactment is binding solely on the Muslims. It certainly defies logic if the Muslims are prohibited from using the 40 words.
Secondly, the Honourable Chief Minister cannot shy away from the fact and responsibility that the gazette by the Penang state government to enforce the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004, which prohibits non-Muslims from using the 40 words including the word ‘Allah’, was made with his knowledge and approval.
It is thus highly irresponsible for the Honourable Chief Minister to declare that the non-Muslims in Penang are free to use the ‘Allah’ word.
Thirdly, it is an indisputable fact that the Honourable Chief Minister had, in his 2012 Christmas message, urged “the BN Federal government to allow the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible”.
However, he had cleverly concealed the fact that the Penang’s Administration of the Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004 which prohibits the use of the "Allah" word by the non-Muslims, with a provision for any offender to be indicted, was enforced in 2010 under his administration. This shows that the Honourable Chief Minister is trying to play the role of both an angel and a devil at the same time.
What MCA has done in response to the Honourable Chief Minister’s declaration was to expose the Honourable Chief Minister’s true colours, and to urge the Honourable Chief Minister to admit responsibility instead of beating around the bush or attempt to deflect responsibility.
On the contrary, when his declaration has inflamed and caused emotions to run wild among the Muslims community, the Honourable Chief Minister is attempting to divert the attention away and puts the blame on MCA, and further tried to pit Umno against MCA.
The MCA Youth Legal Bureau is upset and disappointed that not only such conduct of the Honourable Chief Minister has demonstrated his failure to live up to his own words, he has also failed to live up to the people's expectation to provide an explanation as to why he has agreed to allow the prohibited 40 words to be gazetted and thus enforced.
For all intent and purpose, it was the Honourable Chief Minister who has started this polemic and he is now attempting to shift to blame onto MCA when his true colours were exposed by MCA.
‘CM is in better position to deliver’
We would like to remind the Honourable Chief Minister that given his capacity and position as the Chief Minister of Penang, and since religious matter falls squarely within the state’s jurisdiction, he is in a better position to deliver what he had advocated; MCA had merely dared him to do what he had challenged the Barisan Nasional federal government to do in 2012.
In view of the Honourable Chief Minister’s inability to live by his challenge made to the Barisan Nasional Federal Government in 2012, even though he is now the chief minister of Penang with more than two-third majority, the MCA Youth Legal Bureau hereby urges the Honourable Chief Minister to admit his folly and withdraw his challenge to BN federal government made through his 2012 Christmas message.
Not only that, the Honourable Chief Minister should also apologise and admit that he had erred in his statement that the non-Muslims in Penang can use the ‘Allah’ word freely. And lastly, he should concede that the non-Muslims in Penang can indeed be charged and punished for using the ‘Allah’ word, which even the late DAP chairperson Karpal Singh has advised for the Penang state government to study the law.
CHOO WEI SERN (ERIC) is MCA Youth Legal Bureau chairperson.