Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is on the threshold of his biggest challenge so far.The 'Allah' controversy has given him huge setback for his 1 Malaysia concept.
Up till the inter faith crisis broke the news he has recovered some lost ground and moving into positive territory until the explosive issue of the use of 'Allah' by Christians blew wide open the Pandora's box.
If anything to go by, the controversy has not endeared all Muslims toward UMNO.Far from it, the issues have actually split the Muslims right down the middle and inflicted deep fissures in the hearts and minds of non-Muslims particularly Christians.PAS, took a mollified approach to the issue saying Christians are allowed to use it.
A double-whammy for the ruling party which could have been avoided if more care had been taken in handling the case without resorting to judicial proceedings.Being the bigger person Najib should have called for dialogue with the Christians brothers to reach an amicable solution.Instead, the government used strong arm tactic to deal with the problem.If he had stood his ground against the opportunists and war lords in his party and give what best for the people he wouldn't be in such a malady.All his efforts of bringing Malaysians together again is going up in smoke.
The days of gung-ho politics are over.No matter how bitter the pill is it's time to embrace the wishes of the masses.The politics of cowing and emotional manipulation are long gone.Many Malaysians,disillusioned with the arrogance of the powers that be, now believe changing of the guards seems to be the only solution.
The 'Allah' issue has given Pakatan a big boost in supports, especially, from non-Muslims.Depending on the outcome of the court case it would galvanise further support in the event the Court of Appeal reverses the High Court's decision.
PAS played the political card well in the hope of luring supports of non-Muslims.Whether Muslims support PAS blessing to allow Christians to use 'Allah' is yet to be seen.PAS using the Islamic badge but are prepared to take the secular road whenever it suits its political agenda could be counter productive.
Flip-flopping on the issue has worsen the situation.The announcement by Minister in the PM's Department Nazri Aziz telling East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak that they need not worry because they are allowed continued usage of 'Allah' has backfired.Christians from both sides opposed the sweetener offered to East Malaysians only.They say either all or nothing.The Islamic Development Department(JAKIM) joins Christian leaders in rejecting the proposal and wanted the ban to cover whole nation.
I believe JAKIM is under the PM's Department.It seems the left hand and right hand are not in sync and going in different directions.How the hell was Nazri allowed to make such announcement without consultation with JAKIM, to save the government the embarrassment of being seen as incompetence and flip-flopping on the issue. Was it a Cabinet decision or was it loose-cannon Nazri pandering to East Malaysians.
I am afraid the premature announcement by Nazri backfired, instead of pacifying the East Malaysians, the fiasco has further damaged Najib's effort to integrate Malaysians.
Can Najib hold the fort? Can he rail off the opportunists and war lords in his party and those who believe thuggery,intimidation and use of force are the remedy to the party's misfortunes.
As the matter is crucial to peace and harmony and cause for great concern for all Malaysians the court case should be expedited to settle the case once and for all.
Those who doesn't learn from history learned nothing.Najib should take a leaf out of the history books of the Philippines and Indonesia.The waves of people's power grew on discontentment and would be unstoppable when it comes.
Before finishing this article, I was watching the debate on the 'Allah' controversy on Al Jazeera 101 East comprising Khalid Samad of PAS, Marina Mahathir and Yusri Mohamad of some Islamic Youth Association.
I am afraid Yusri Mohammad's argument was, I wouldn't say in too many words,unconvincingly feeble.