Published on: Thursday, January 09, 2014
PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has asked Catholic priest Father Lawrence Andrew to respect the court's decision on the use of the word, 'Allah' in the Malay version of the Bible.
The former Prime Minister said the editor of 'The Herald', a Catholic weekly magazine, should respect the sensitivities of the Muslim community in the country, just as Muslims respected other religions.
"The case was referred to the court by them, but when the court made its decision, they did not bother. What will happen when society does not respect the court's decision?
"The usage of the word, 'Allah', in Sabah and Sarawak has been for a long while, never mind, lah, but why all of a sudden (they) want to use it here?," asked Dr Mahathir when met by reporters after presenting a keynote address at the Tabung Haji (TH) Corporate Directors seminar in Kelana Jaya, here, Wednesday.
He was commenting on Father Lawrence's statement last Dec 27 that the Catholic church in Selangor would continue to use the word, 'Allah', in its weekly services in the Malay language, even though the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) sent a reminder notice disallowing its usage by non-Muslims.
His statement has met with some opposition from various quarters, particularly Muslims in Selangor, and Tuesday he stood his ground in not wanting to apologise as demanded by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Selangor Umno and Malay rights group, Perkasa.
Dr Mahathir reminded that Malaysia was a peaceful country despite having people of diverse religious and racial backgrounds, which needed to be maintained by avoiding matters which could touch on the religious sensitivities of others.
Meanwhile, he said the establishment of entertainment premises in Putrajaya was a non-issue because it was not a religious town but an administrative town.
"People need entertainment. If we cannot drink liquor in Putrajaya, its all right with me, but to the extent of not having any entertainment, this is difficult, lah," he said when asked on the proposed opening of the Hard Rock Cafe branch in Putrajaaya that was met with opposition by certain quarters.
The media reported that a branch of the Hard Rock Cafe was expected to be opened in Putrajaya - the brainchild of Dr Mahathir - following discussions with Putrajaya Corporation president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat and businessman Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir.
Asked whether he agreed to a Hard Rock Cafe branch to be opened in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir replied: "I do not agree on (a) Hard Rock Cafe (branch).
I agree there should be entertainment there. But if we want to disallow the sales of liquor, that is up to them (the relevant authorities)."
However, Aseh was reported to have clarified that there was no official request on any proposal to open entertainment centres in Putrajaya.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Mahathir said TH was a unique entity that was incomparable in the world, in terms of collecting the people's money to enable them to perform the Haj.