KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 ― MCA today demanded Datuk Ibrahim Ali apologise and retract his call for Muslims to burn Malay-language bibles containing the word “Allah”, entering into yet another racially-charged verbal battle with the Perkasa chief.
MCA presidential council member Loh Seng Kok called Ibrahim’s attitude “disappointing” and “unbecoming of an MP”, taking a dig at the Pasir Mas parliamentarian who touts himself as being multiracial.
“Ibrahim Ali must apologise for his seditious statement of burning Bibles with ‘Allah’,” Loh said.
“While playing up racial rhetoric is considered a norm for someone such as Ibrahim Ali and such immature attitude is naturally expected from him, he has pushed things way too far now,” he added.
Ibrahim, who founded and leads Malay rights group Perkasa, ruffled feathers in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) over the weekend when he urged Malays to torch all Malay language bibles that use the word “Allah” and other religious Arabic words.
After Ibrahim’s remarks, MIC leader S. Vell Paari urged the government to punish the right wing Perkasa president or face the possibility of BN bleeding non-Muslim votes.
During its national congress last month, Perkasa had led its members in an oath to stand united and support all BN candidates regardless of party.
But MCA distanced itself from the group today, insisting that Perkasa’s stand did not reflect BN’s approach to such sensitive issues.
“His (Ibrahim) senseless call is a dangerous one, both inflammatory and seditious in its meanings. Not only has he disrespected the Christian faith and sacred texts, but his call to burn bibles is tantamount to vandalism,” Loh said.
“He should be aware that he represents the rakyat of Malaysia, regardless of race or creed or religious beliefs, and as such, he should immediately withdraw his latest disrespectful and provocative rant.”
Earlier today, Perkasa threatened to pull its support for MIC and MCA in its response to Vell Paari’s remarks on Ibrahim’s stand on the “Allah” issue.
In a statement here, the controversial group explained that Ibrahim’s statement on the matter had been misinterpreted as he had merely been referring to Malay language bibles.
“I confirm that the Perkasa president did mention the words ‘burn the Bible’ but he did not mean the original English language books.
“He meant the Malay language bibles that use ‘Allah’ and Jawi writing,” Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said in the statement.
The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the watershed Election 2008, remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls.
Debate resurfaced last month after Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng called on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Borneo Malaysia.
Hot on the heels of the DAP leader’s remarks, several state Rulers and Islamic religious authorities reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning use of the word, despite conflicting with a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.