Outgoing Archbishop Of Kuala Lumpur Roasts Najib Over 'Allah' Row

Outgoing Archbishop Murphy Pakiam today broke from his normally non-confrontational stance to publicly criticise Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for his insistence that the word "Allah" was exclusive to Muslims.

Najib had said this in his Maal Hijrah speech in November which Pakiam described as disappointing and shocking.

"What did he say?

"Even if the world talks and laughs about this 'Allah' issue that Malaysia will not allow (its use by non-Muslims), we (government) will defend the exclusivity of its use.

"This is not a man who is educated in our Catholic school. By talking like that, you are just a bickering politician, I am praying that Allah will enlighten him to become a statesman," he said.

Najib was educated at St John's Institute, just adjacent to the Archbishop's house where the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) annual Christmas high tea was held today.

Pakiam said this to reporters when asked to respond to Najib's call to Muslims and Christian to cease the "Allah" debate at the national level Christmas open house in Penang today.

Pakiam: I still pray for Najib

Instead, Pakiam said Najib was the one who should stop preventing Christians from using the word "Allah".

Pakiam used Najib's experience in school as example as how the Christians community had helped Najib as a boy in a Catholic school and respected his Muslim faith.

"From a small boy, from primary school until Form 3, he (Najib) has been there (St John's Institute).

"When it came to catechism (classes), his mother was disturbed because he was just a small boy going to a (Christian) religious class.

"But his mother had confidence in our brothers and phoned Brother Matthew who said: 'Please, don't worry, we will see that he doesn't go in'," he said.

As such, Pakiam said he hoped that Najib would do his duty and serve all Malaysians.

"You think I am not angry? But still? He is the prime minister so I have to pray to god to please help him to do his duty for the whole country and not just Umno," he said.

Incitement of hatred

The Court of Appeal had in October overturned a High Court decision which ruled that the Home Ministry's ban against Christian publication The Herald from using the word 'Allah' was unconstitutional.

The Church is now appealing the decision at the Federal Court in the hope of reinstating the High Court's ruling.

Pakiam added that Najib's insistence of exclusivity for the word Allah was inciting right wing groups against the Christian community.

"He knows the law, he knows what is the judgment the judges gave and he (Najib) is saying: 'Oh it's allowed there (Sabah and Sarawak) but be careful in peninsula. So, don't stir this up, you are playing with fire.'

"That is inciting Perkasa fellows to come and throw bombs here," said Pakiam with a touch of frustration in his voice.

Legal experts have questioned the governments move to permit the use of the word "Allah" in East Malaysia yet continuing defending the Court of Appeal decision.

The Court of Appeal had ruled that the word Allah was "not an integral part of the Christian faith", a decision that affects Christians in both East and West Malaysia.

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