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KUALA LUMPUR Dec 20, 2014:

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s apparent support for the use of the word “Allah” among non-Muslims in Penang was merely a political ploy to present himself as a liberal champion in the country.

In saying this, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the word should not be used by the general public.

Speaking to reporters after presenting his keynote address at the at the Akademi Kenegaraan here, the former premier said that the issue involving the use of the Arabic word for God in the country was apparent even during his time as prime minister.

He explained that there was an understanding that the word Allah would continue to be used by the Christian Bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak.

“But there is no necessity for them to use it generally in other places where it has not been used.”

Personally, Dr Mahathir said that Christians had never used the word Allah to describe God until the advent of Islam.

This, he explained, started when Christians embracing Islam also begin to use the word.

Dr Mahathir also said it was obvious it was not the original name for God in Christianity because if one refers back to the original Christian texts, there is no mention of the word Allah.

He said that the usage of the word Allah was a tactic by the Christian missionaries in the region to equate Christianity and Islam to the Muslims.

“During the British time they (the missionaries) never used it, so why do we need to use it here (Peninsula Malaysia) now to cause a rift between Muslims and Christians ?”

Last week Lim, the DAP secretary-general, was reported as saying that non-Muslims could use the word “Allah” as the Penang State Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, which banned the use of the word, could not be enforced on them.

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