KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan has slammed Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali for calling on the Najib administration to disallow the use of Malay Bibles in Malaysia.
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The Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president said Ibrahim should re-examine his approach in expressing his views on a sensitive religious issue.
“I hope he will reconsider his way of thinking and only issue statements that would bring good, peace and harmony to all Malaysians who have been living in unity in this country,” he said when met after a media luncheon.
Ibrahim on Thursday said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should ban the al-Kitab (Bible) from Malaysia in retaliation for the Christian community’s “ingratitude”.
“We have been compromising, we have given them leeway. They wanted the Malay Bible, we allowed them to have it… they were still not satisfied.
“It is better that we urge the government and the prime minister to rescind their decision to allow Malay Bibles in Malaysia,” he said during the Perkasa Selangor Conference 2013, in response to the Catholic Church’s recent announcement that it would not give up its struggle for the rights to use the Arabic word ‘Allah’ in its weekly publication, The Herald.
[VOP comment: Other sources claim that loud applause and roars of approval from the audience of about 500 of its members, followed his comment.
It has also been reported that Ibrahim resorted to name-calling, declaring DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng a “pig” for declaring that he would continue to fight for Christians’ right to use the word ‘Allah’.
He then mocked Christianity, saying that it was “a religion without a name of God.” He continued that Christianity been around for hundreds of years, yet still has no name for its God, inciting loud laughter from the audience.
“They insist on using the word ‘Allah’ because there is no other name for their God,”. He mentioned Christian leaders, pastors and the archbishop “puzzled” him.]
Pairin, when asked to comment, described the call as “full of malicious intention” and aimed at undermining the strong racial unity that has long existed in Malaysia.
“It is full with bad intention…that do not want to see Malaysia continue progressing in peace and harmony and its people always using moderation,” he said.
Previously, Pairin had also rebuked Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman for urging those who did not agree with the ban on the word ‘Allah’ in The Herald to leave Malaysia.
Such remarks were provocative, he said, and should never have been uttered in a multi-religious country like Malaysia, whose people have always been tolerant and appreciative of their differences.
Pairin also called on Christians in Malaysia, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, to remain calm and not to be swayed by certain rhetoric on the matter.
Meanwhile, in his address at the function earlier, Pairin expressed hope that PBS would have closer ties and a stronger working relationship with the media in the state.
“We do not usually organise functions for our media friends but I hope there will be more events like this from now on.
“Don’t be surprised if we call for another luncheon soon. I hope this will be a new starting point for us to build a stronger relationship, for our mutual benefit and the betterment of the state, country and people,” he said.
Pairin also stressed on the importance of promoting unity and strengthening racial integration, and the vital role political parties and the media could play in those regards.
He said Malaysians, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, are like budding flowers of many different species.
“A single flower is beautiful by itself but a bouquet of colourful flowers is always better. That’s how we Malaysians are. Let’s not allow the family spirit we have among us to be eroded by anything,” Pairin said.