Monday, December 22, 2014

AG Gani, action speaks louder than words!

From left: Father Lawrence Andrew and Gani

22/12/2014 - 11:00      

Ng Kee Seng

QUICK TAKE: Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail told Christians at a dialogue in Kuching that they were free to use Bibles containing the word "Allah anywhere in the country”, including in Selangor.

Is that so, Gani?

Then what were the raids and Bible seizures in Sarawak, Selangor and Johor about? Why are you not swiftly acting to stop the continuous intimidation by certain quarters?

Why do you hesitate to act swiftly when you are known to on many other issues, especially on the use of the Sedition Act against selective "offenders"?

Why are you so lenient on the racial and religious slurs spewed by bigots?

After all the past, do you still expect peace-loving, colour-blind Malaysians to have faith or confidence in what you say?

They must be morons to believe such an oxymoron AG.

Come on Gani. If the raids and Bible seizures were justified, you would not have hesitated a second to charge those found using such Bibles to propagate Christianity to Muslims.

The fact is none of the Bibles seized were used for any purpose of propagating Christianity to Muslims. Not a single person, thus far, has been charged in the raids and seizures speaks volumes of the sinister actions of the religious culprits aided by the police.

The Malaysian Insider quoted Gani as saying: “You can use it anywhere in the country as long as you do not use it for propagating Christianity to Muslims."

Addressing a dialogue organised by the Department of National Unity and Integration on Dec 13, Gani told Christian leaders: "Even if you want to use it in Selangor, I honestly do not see anything wrong."

Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen's assistant Mordi Brimol, who attended the dialogue, described it as “a waste of time”.

Brimol said judging from the reactions and questions posed to the AG, most of those who attended the event were unconvinced that they could use the Bibles, particularly the Malay Alkitab and the Iban Bup Kudus, in Selangor without harassment from the state's Islamic religious authorities or the police.

Brimol, who said he had “sneaked in” after hearing of the dialogue, recorded the proceedings and a copy of it was shared with The Malaysian Insider.

The AG, in his opening statement, had told the Christian leaders that “it is wrong to say the Bible cannot use the word 'Allah'".

“You can use it but you cannot use that Bible with the word 'Allah' to propagate Christianity to Muslims.

“If you use among your congregations and to fellow Christians, then it is no issue whether in Sarawak or in the peninsula,” he had said.

“It is your right under the constitution.

“That's what the law is all about,” Gani had said, referring to the rights of other religions to practice their beliefs as guaranteed in the Federal Constitution.

“I will defend my position even if the sultan starts telling me (that it's not allowed).”

He did not say which sultan but later told the leaders that he had defied “a direct order of the Sultan of Selangor” to burn the 351 copies of the Alkitab and Bup Kudus which Jais had seized from the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia in January.

Gani said that despite the protection given to Christians by the constitution, he knew “many people would not be happy with me, (from) both sides (for saying all this)”.

Brimol said the church leaders then asked if it was their right under the constitution to use the word Allah, why did they have to fight for that right in court.

“They asked why did Jais seize the Alkitab and Bup Kudus, why were the seized Bibles stamped with the warning they could not be used in Selangor when they were finally released, and why did government departments, like the Immigration Department, seize a consignment of religious CDs at KLIA2?

“The questions posed showed they were just not convinced by the AG's assurance.”

Brimol said he, too, was not convinced even though Gani had made some strong statements, including standing up to the sultan on legal matters.

In postings on his Facebook, Brimol stated that Gani gave “evasive” and “unconvincing” explanations.

“His explanation all hinged on his personal view... 'my view is' or 'I have no problem with that'...

“Throughout the question-and-answer session, I was of the opinion that he was evasive in answering the questions and would only give safe answers or those that he thought we wanted to hear.

“To sum it all up, everything was left hanging,” he said.

Apart from the Allah issue and Bible seizures, questions were also raised on the words linked to Islam which state governments like Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu had banned non-Muslims from using.

Gani said the Federal Constitution did not allow the states to make any laws “to prohibit the use of any word or any action”.

He added that the ban on the words “does not show anything good”.

“I hope the Muslims take that into consideration.”

The dialogue was attended by most church leaders, including the heads of the state's two biggest denominations, Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok, the Anglican church head for Southeast Asia and Archbishop Datuk John Ha of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching.

Lapok also currently chairs the grouping of all churches in Sarawak, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS).

Gani, if you are really sincere in what you said at the dialogue, why don't you for once start showing peace-loving Malaysians that you are no hypocrite through firm action against the religious extremists.

Action speaks louder than words, isn't that so?

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