Friday, 23 January 2009

Dompok: Leave The Herald alone

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the Home Affairs Ministry should let the court decide instead of continuing to harass the Catholic weekly, Herald, for using the word “Allah” in its latest publication.

Stating that it was an unnecessary controversy, he said the Home Affairs Ministry should just lay the matter to rest because it is waiting for hearing in the court.

He was speaking to Sabah journalists after officiating at the presentation ceremony of the UPSR 2008 excellence award, uniform assistance and Year Six “Aku Janji” pledge at SK St Theresa, Inobong, Penampang near Kota Kinabalu Friday.

“Lately, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been harassing the Herald to such an extent that they have to go to the court and (now) waiting for hearing,” he said, adding that based on comments, including by lawyers, on the issue, the Herald should be allowed to publish as they have done before pending the outcome of the Court.

“It is not for the Ministry of Home Affairs to pre-empt the decision of the court,” said Dompok who is also the President of the United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO).

He was responding to the reports quoting Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar warning the Herald as “the show of defiance could cause conflict and anger among other races in the country”.

Syed Hamid also said that “if anything happens, then don’t put the blame on us” and that he would refer the matter to the Ministry’s legal unit.

“There’s no reason for the Home Affairs Ministry to kelam kabut (get all excited) to look at this. I think they are using very strong language (against the Herald),” said Dompok.

He added that the Herald, is just a small organisation having a circulation of just about 14,000 a week out of the Christian population of about two million and slightly more than a million Catholics in the country.

“It is only being sold in churches so I don’t see how it can confuse the people,” he said, adding that it had also complied with the requirement of the Ministry to stamp the word “Terhad” (limited) on every edition.

Dompok said the matter would have arisen during the Premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad “but I think wisdom prevail”.

He said the usage of the word “Allah” should be viewed from the historical perspective since the terminology had came about when Bahasa Malaysia was used by the people even before Malaysia (existed).

He said it was the language used by the people of the Borneo territories (as the) Melayu tacit lingua franca, even though English was used in most schools but there were also some schools that were conducted in Malay at that time.

“So religion developed along the line of communications and in this particular village (Kampung Inobong) for instance I didn’t have occasion to use the terminology because sermons and proceedings in church are conducted in Kadazan and “Allah” in Kadazan is “Kinoingan”.

“I went to school in La Salle in Kota Kinabalu, when I go to church its in English so God is God,” he said.

However, Dompok said in rural areas where the predominance of Bahasa Malaysia came about, the usage of “Allah” became more pronounced, especially after the importation of Bible written in Indonesian language, which refers to God as “Allah”.

He said the terminology is widely used in Indonesia and also in Arab countries by Christians.

“So it is a universal terminology use in the Christian world when they are praying in their vernacular language. There is no reason for the Home Ministry to continue harassing the Catholic Herald,” he said.

Based on reports, Dompok said it was “as though the Herald was trampling on the toes of everybody while in fact I feel the Ministry of Home Affairs is using a sledge hammer to crack a nut in full force to silence the Herald”.

“We are living in a country that practices democracy, freedom of religion and that the first tenet of the Rukun Negara is Believe in God. People want to believe is God so I think they should be allowed to so,” he said.

Dompok also could not believed that people were even suggesting disallowing worship by other religions in Malay.

“I said how can that be? Bahasa Malaysia does not belong to the Malays alone, this is the language of all Malaysians, your and my language.

“So I feel if there is indeed objection to that then perhaps its time for us to look for a new national language so that there would not be “confusion” among Malaysians,” he said.

To a question, Dompok said he had spoken to Home Minister and brought up the issue in the Cabinet.

“In fact it was the day after the (Federal) Cabinet meeting that they gave back the Herald the license to publish in Malay,” he said.


Olivia said...

There is something very seriously wrong with PDRM and Home Ministry.

They seem to be chasing around Malaysians for the wrong reasons.

KINGkimo said...

selagi YB Tan Sri ada peluang untuk menegakkan kebenaran demi rakyatnya terutama di Sabah khasnya dan di Malaysia pada amnya, kita juga harus terus menyokong pendirian ini dan kita akan terus berdiri di belakang YB. kita hormati RUKUN NEGARA dan mengamalkan 'bahasa jiwa bangsa' sebagai rakyat malaysia. "Allah Maha Besar". tiada yang mustahil bagiNYA. Amin.

Anonymous said...

When I am sober I call the Creator as God,

When I feel unloved by the world I call the Creator as Jesus,

When my own mind is confused as who the Creator is....the Holy Ghost (Spirit) seems to be the answer!

When having read too much literatures....Paraclete is God,

When hearing the Azans I bow to Allah the Almighty!

And when driven to supernatural ecstacy after consuming Talak....Kinoringan is Lord...the only Almighty God!

King Cup......forever!
Gunung Kinabalu

Anonymous said...

Who used "Allah" first? Christians or Muslims?

Anonymous said...

Where has BN thrown the Rukun Negara? Good only for the wallpapers. There never has been any sincerity in the BN Gov't to unite the people. What's wrong in the bible religions to use one term. I recall my brothers who went to mission schools in the early days, they didn't get converted. My Dusun teachers in the GPS (Gov't Primary Schools) in the 50's and 60's read, wrote and taught in Jawi, they remained faithful to their religions. And to top it all, in recent times, a Mission school in Kudat had even built a surau for their Muslim student!
We thought the 2004 Christmas in KK promoted by BN will see the beginning of religious tolerance, but alas it was more of 'hot hot chicken shit' (hangat hangat tahi ayam) There was none of it later...
BN is on the way out. All because of the silent majority have shown their maturity. BN is now soul searching for the right formula with the same mentalities..

Anonymous said...

banyak juga projek jalanraya si dompok ni...mungkinkah dia punya kritikan pun "hot-hot chicken shit?"

Julius Caesar,