"I hate to be included in the race just because I'm a Muslim it doesn't mean I agree with it. Who is my wakil to speak on my behalf? I can't remember much nor have I heard in the past if any of the Peninsula's (Semenanjung or Malaya) based ethnic groups ever used word "Allah" when referring to God. Thus no great surprise when some Muslims from this part of the country worked up when they heard non-Muslims from Malaysia Borneo saying it.
For the first time? After 50-odd years? They didn't realise after all that Christians or non-Christians a like (besides Muslims) from Malaysia Borneo refer their God as Allah too.
The hooha-hooha about the word Allah started in Peninsular where the people there never used it, while the irony Malaysians in Borneo used it never even bother to care who owns it-who are most perturbed? Now the battle ground end up in Kuala Lumpur, plain funny! There are lots more things that people from Peninsula aren't familiar with.
Briefly I give a typical background of Malaysian Borneo with regard to Islamic religion. Most of us, the Muslim today had our fore parents weren't Muslims, like me, for instance as later as only three generations. My granddad's parents were pagan looked after by Muslims' family I therefore became Muslim today. I have many cousins who aren't Muslims all over Borneo, yet I don't remember if ever religion was an issue among us.
If there is an argument about faith whether we did it right or wrong I shall standby for any call to debate.
A few months ago I was in the Church as well at the Christian's graveyard burying my late cousin.
Even today a number of young people in Sabah who voluntarily embraced Islam, where in a family, some of the children or relatives take up Islam as their religion whilst their parents are Christian or some have no particular religion.
They still live under one roof. The novelty though, the way I see it, its only fair and logical for children to look after their parents who are no longer working, in other words, the children's turn to take care of their elderly parents. More interestingly every Sunday, the children send their parents to Church because the parents choose to go, while at the same token the children go to the mosque. The parents constantly reminding their Children to be strictly follow their new faith that they voluntarily embraced. The children performed the Islamic ritual, praying or even attending religious classes, and doing like ordinary Muslims are doing and no quarrel in the house.
And I must say this; I'm astounded with disgrace by the lackadaisical attitude by some of Islamic Religious officers in the State who in dispensing their duty are far more concerned about their overtime pays then their actual role as religious officers. My opinion again is that, all religion somehow started with simple beginning that was how Islam attracted mankind at its earlier period. It's not religion that created misery; it's the people- the Muslims so to speak. I agree with Dr Faisal Al Qasim who fears we may end up like Pakistan-a failed state.
Back to the issue of word Allah, at the country's High Court of law, judgment had been made, okaying the use of world Allah, I already heard some people pitying the judge who laboured with the burden by putting forward justice first.
But no, to some Muslims calling Allah confuses people or confuses all Muslims, which is which? That has been the reason of disallowing others to use word Allah.
The President of Council of Justices of Peace who is also the Chairman of Institute for Development Studies Sabah, Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun made a high profile statement, urging the Christians in particular Roman Catholic of the country or shall I say, asking fellow Christians to stay clear. Anyone connected to this affair should compromise; that there is a need to take stoke looking at the present situation and in the interest of national security and public order. To cut short, please Christians drop the word Allah let the Muslim brothers have exclusive right.
After all Malakun said, we already won the first round at the court of law. He urged all must understand that Muslims brothers are angry because they feel that the word Allah is traditionally used in Malaysia refer to the Islamic concept of God.
To be frank I feel disgusted with such statement. No better than giving sweets to a three-year-old kid, I'm sure some people have other opinion but I think this is not a scholarly opinion.
Instead he should have explained why is there a different in the way we think here compare with some people in Peninsula with regard to this topic, and why being sulky? In all honestly nothing to compromise or pitying one another, to me behaving in this manner is only to be read that we Malaysians Borneo have no constructive opinion on our own to offer to the nation.
My view is our country is losing its luster in one-way or the other. The country is already losing credibility when talking about religious and ethnic tolerance, which I considered to be round three. Round one, on economic front, our nation is no longer a tiger as what it was called decades ago. Round two country's administrations are marred by never-ending scandals.
Another classical example is how the jet fighter engines of Royal Malaysia Air Force could be shipped out of the country under the very noses of guardians of the nation.
The findings in the end is only blaming a lowly ranking airman, as if nothing serious ever happening.
I would imagine a better lesson for them would be to suspend all the big brass from duties until all issues resolved. So too, the other day was with reference to Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission-MACC. PM should have suspended all the bosses connected with the case until issues resolved then only there is a fair chance that the country's leaders regain people's confidence. That's what I called action. Today, so far, any action taken is no more than cosmetic repair, like, trying to rid a pimple on the face after eating too much peanuts?"
Amde Sidik, a part-time university law lecturer and local author.