Malaysia's Barisan National has been ruling virtually uninterrupted for half a century, so it's not surpising that it feels comfortable issuing blanket decrees.
Malaysia's Barisan National has been ruling virtually uninterrupted for half a century, so in many ways it's not surpising that it feels comfortable in issuing blanket decrees, however irrational they may be.
The latest dictum, above, is a perfect case in point.
A little background. The Catholic Church in Malaysia has been in litigation against the government for the past two years. At issue: should Christians use the word "Allah" to refer to God when they are speaking to local Christians in Malaysian?
The question came up when the government, seemingly without any motivation, decreed that they must not. It would, they said, "confuse" Muslims.
The Catholic Church pointed out that they have been active in Malaysia and using the word for centuries, without any problem.
In addition, they use it almost exclusively in their publication, the Catholic Herald, and since the government only allows the paper to be distributed among Christians, the accusation that it confuses Muslims simply doesn't make sense.
Also bear in mind that, in the language of Malaysia, Bahasa Melayu, the word for God is Allah. When writing in Bahasa Melayu, would it not be more confusing for readers who don't speak English to suddenly come across the word "God"?
Anyway, I have no intention of getting myself involved in this debate.