Jan 5, 2010

Tun Mahathir says law cannot solve the current "Allah" usage controversy

(Malaysiakini) Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has disagreed with the government's attempt to seek a solution for the 'Allah' controversy through the courts.

Hinting in his latest blog posting that the executive should flex its muscles on this case, he said the government cannot resolve the issue by turning to the court of appeal.

"The law does not take into account whether a particular issue is sensitive or otherwise and whether it has the potential to spark off tension or animosity between the believers of different faiths," he added.

Mahathir, who stepped down in 2003 after 22 years in power, said a similar controversy had arose during his tenure as prime minister.

At that time, he added, the cabinet felt that the usage of the word 'Allah' in the Bible was sensitive.

As an analogy, Mahathir said the term 'kaum pendatang' or immigrants (used to describe non-Malays in a derogatory manner) can also be referred to the courts.

"But this is something sensitive which cannot be resolved by the courts," added the 84-year-old politician.

Furthermore, the former premier said the term 'Allah' is not used in the Jewish Torah, which is in the Hebrew language, or the Bible in Latin, Greek or other European languages.

"In Judaism, God is called 'Yahweh' which is translated in English as 'Jehovah'. In the Bible, Jesus and God are the same. There is no use of 'Allah' in these languages," he said.

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