PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)

Customers are painfully aware that redemption coupons often are not what they seem to be.  Remember the old customer advisory, “What the bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away.” One can only feel let down after reading the fine print in the “Terms and Conditions Apply” section stipulating the coupon is valid only at certain branches. Worse still, the customer service may refer to a hitherto unannounced in-house policy which says the coupon is valid only for ‘privileged members’.

To be fair, PM Najib finally comes clean with the fine print “terms and conditions” of his 10-point redemption coupon. Indeed, he highlighted it in bold print. As reported,

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated today that state enactments on the use of terms deemed exclusive to Muslims override the Cabinet’s more generous 10-point agreement on the matter. “The 10 points are subject to state constitution and enactments. Where there are state enactments, they will supersede the 10-point agreement,” he told reporters. “We have made our stance clear.” [Themalaymailonline 27/01/2014]

Still, PM Najib was quick to assure the East Malaysians that he has “special terms and conditions” for them. The STAR (24 Jan 2013) in “Najib: 10-point Resolution on Allah Issue Subject to Federal, State Laws” reported,

Najib… took note of the Cabinet’s 10-point resolution on this matter in 2011, which among others, allows the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak to continue using the word Allah in the Malay version of the Bible. However, he said the points therein were subject to Federal and state laws.

“This means that if the state has an enactment (on use of the word Allah), it is subject to this. If the state does not have such an enactment, like Sabah and Sarawak, so the usual practice will be continued and no party should scare others,” he told reporters after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato Onn on Friday.

However, East Malaysians, especially Sabahans, should be guarded in accepting the PM’s assurance or redemption coupon. They may be in for a rude shock as the customer service of the PM’s ‘Departmental Store’ has a track record applying ambiguous in-house policy to reject redemption coupons. For example, some goods (supposedly Islamic terms) can only be sold to privileged members; a fortiori, customers cannot use redemption coupons to get them.

Put concretely, Sabah Christians should be aware that the state has gazetted on 1 June 2003  a fatwa prohibiting non-Muslims from using 32 so-called Islamic terms under the Enakmen Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam 1992.

Under normal circumstances, fatwas should have no bearing on non-Muslims. That is to say, a fatwa must be gazetted to have legal effect (on Muslims).  But a fatwa, even one that is gazetted, has no application to non-Muslims since it is still being gazetted under the state Shariah enactment, which does not apply to non-Muslims. Continue reading “PM Must Declare Sabah Christians Right to Use Alkitab, Notwithstanding the Fatwa (2003)”