Najib’s assurance that Sabah and Sarawakian Christians will not be affected by the Court of Appeal ruling on the ‘Allah’ verdict has proven to be completely undependable and unreliable

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 31st of October 2014

In October 2013, after the Court of Appeal’s verdict on the right of the Herald newspaper to use the word Allah in its publication, Najib assured Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the decision would not affect the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak as per the 10 point agreement issued by the Federal Cabinet.[1]

However, it was reported yesterday, on the 30th of October, that ‘hundreds of compact discs (CDs) and books containing the word “Allah” were confiscated at the KLIA2 airport last Saturday.’ It was further reported that these items belonged to a Sabahan Christian who had brought them in from Medan, Indonesia, on his way back to Sabah where he lives.[2]

If this report is true, then it proves that Najib’s assurances to the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak are completely undependable and unreliable. This confirms the view of the Sarawak Minister’s Fellowship that ‘there is no basis for Najib to give assurance on Allah.’[3] The confiscation of this Christian material containing the word Allah once again shows that the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have no assurance that bibles printed in Indonesia and imported to Malaysia through KLIA or any other airport will not be confiscated by the federal authorities, as a result of the Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word Allah as ‘not being an integral part’ of the Christian faith.

This confiscation also shows the complete failure of the federal government to protect Freedom of Religion as per Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution. It also shows the failure of the federal government in trying to keep up the pretense of having an inconsistent promise of ‘one country, two systems’ for having one set of laws for Peninsular Malaysia and another set of laws for Sabah when it comes to something as fundamental as our constitutional rights to practice our religion freely.

I call upon the Prime Minister to order the Home Minister to release the material belonging to the Sabahan Christian immediately. I also call upon the Prime Minister to order the Home Minister not to appeal against the High Court decision for the Home Ministry to return the Christian CDs belonging to Jill Ireland and for the immediate return of these CDs.[4] The failure to do so would only confirm that the Prime Minister is a ‘toothless tiger’ who is incapable of ensuring that his own Ministers implement the Prime Minister’s promises to the people.