Despite the apology as suggested by Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman, Malay NGOs are insistent that Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Salvador leave the country for his interview with The Malaysian Insider eight days ago.
Apology not enough, Vatican envoy should leave, say Perkasa and Jati
BY HASBULLAH AWANG CHIK
JULY 19, 2013
LATEST UPDATE: JULY 20, 2013 12:33 AM
Ibrahim Ali holding up a copy of the protest note which was then handed to a policeman at the guardhouse. The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasbullah Awang Chik, July 19, 2013.Despite the Vatican envoy’s apology to Wisma Putra over his comments on the Allah issue, several non-governmental organisations saw fit to march to the Apostolic Nunciature here to send in a protest note.
They are still adamant that the apostolic nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino leave the country, with Perkasa wanting the envoy to be changed and Jati taking it a step further, asking for the end of any diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
They are also demanding that the Vatican envoy apologise for offending Muslims in Malaysia.
Aside from Jati and Perkasa, the NGOs present were Armada Melayu, Gabungan Bela Hak Insan Pulau Pinang and Perembam, an Indian NGO.
“We came here to meet the Vatican envoy but he is not here,” said Jati president Datuk Hasan Ali.
No one came out from the Apostolic Nunciature to meet the group, forcing the protesters to hand over a copy of the note to the policemen outside the premises. A copy of the note was also posted on the guardhouse.
“Marino had said that they had strong arguments on why Christians could use the word Allah, while to our understanding, the word cannot be used by non-Muslims”, Hasan said.
He also called for the nunciature to be closed, adding that they would advise the government that there was no need for a Vatican embassy here.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said Archbishop Marino’s meeting with Foreign Affairs minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman did not bring closure to the issue as it was a meeting to explain and to convey his apology to the minister.
“We wish to state that Marino is persona-non-grata in Malaysia and he has to leave.
“By stating his support for the use of the term Allah, it can be construed as the archbishop was supporting the opposition, which has always been wanting to play up this issue,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim and Hasan were clearly not on the same page as the former also told reporters: “We want a new envoy. We are not anti-Christian or anti any other religion. But if Marino can make fun of our religion, we cannot remain silent.”
In his first interview with the Malaysian media, Archbishop Marino had expressed his support for the Christian Federation Malaysia’s arguments in support on the use of the word Allah by the Christian community here.
It was also reported that during the interview, the archbishop had qualified that the court case pending on the Allah issue was an internal matter for the country.
Perkasa and Jati demanded that the Vatican envoy withdraw his support for the local church’s campaign to use the word Allah and wanted him to apologise within seven days.
The Council of Churches Malaysia urge the government to take action against Perkasa and Jati for trying to disrupt diplomatic ties between Malaysia and the Vatican.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) had also come out in support of Archbishop Marino saying he had no reason to retract his statement as he was speaking the truth.
Catholic Bishop Paul Tan said that he was shocked at the reaction of the two Malay rights NGOs, noting that the Vatican envoy’s remarks “should not be seen as an interference in Malaysia’s internal affairs any more than the demand at some embassies in Kuala Lumpur recently that our government reject the goings-on in Egypt and Syria constitutes interference in those nations’ affairs”.
The head of the Catholic Church in the Malacca-Johor diocese described Perkasa and Jati’s demands as “gimmicky sabre-rattling”.
Archbishop Marino was then summoned to Anifah’s office, where he asked the foreign minister to convey his apologies if his comments on the Allah issue have caused any misunderstanding and inconvenience with the envoy stressing he never intended to interfere in the internal affairs of Malaysia. – July 19, 2013.
“Foreign interference” and behaviour unbecoming of an ambassador of peace by insulting a decree of HRH Ruler pertaining on Islam which is the religion of the Federation of Malaysia, isn’t taken lightly by these right wing Federal Constitution fundamentalists.
It is clear that Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Marino failed in his primary task with his presence in Kuala Lumpur, which is a diplomat and representative of the Pope of Catholic Church for better understanding between beliefs. Instead, he is deemed to intentionally outrageous or political by his choice to side with the Christian Federation of Malaysia on an issue which is ultra sensitive for the Malay-Muslim majority.
The Council of Churches demand for actions to be taken against Malay NGOs such as JATI, PERKASA and MUAFAKAT should be deemed anti-Constitution. The Malay NGOs are defending what is enshrined under the Federation of Malaysia Constitution, which is the position of Islam.
Then again, issues pertaining diplomatic relations are not provisions in the Federal Constitution.
The representative of Malaysian Consulative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) must first realise that”The truth” is that Islam is the third article in Part I of the Federation of Malaysia Constitution, where the identity of this nation is defined by law.
It is even mention ahead of the ‘Supreme Law of the Federation’.Thus, the prominence and position of Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia is paramount.
The freedom in the belief of ‘kalimah Allah’ in place of God in bibles and other religious scriptures subscribed by the churches and MCCBCHST is probably applicable elsewhere but not in this country. In the argument otherwise should be deemed as an initiative to protelyse Muslims into Christianity, which is prohibited.
After all, Article 3.1 of the Federal Constitution stated “Other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation” and 11.4 “Federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief amongst persons professing the religion of Islam”.
Challenging what have been enshrined in the Federal Constitution as “Islam is the religion of the Federation” and what HRH Sultan Selangor decreed pertaining to ‘kalimah Allah’ is in fact should be viewed as an attempt to disrupt that ‘peace and harmony’.
Even when a Muslim volunteer for apostasy, as what then Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Ahmad said in his position presiding on the Lina Joy case six years ago.
If what The Malaysian Insider reported is true, then Bishop Paul Tan’s statement should be investigated by the authorities under Sedition Act. Session Courts Judge Murtzadi Amran in the case of PP Vs Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee paved the way that persons with tendency of causing anger and ill feelings between believers of different faiths should not be allowed to walk free in society and denied bail.
The Attorney General of Malaysia also paved the way that an apology isn’t adequate when Islam has been insulted but instead should be dealt with the maximum penalty to the limit of the law.
*The title translate to “Apology not adequate”