Malaysia

Allah not exclusive to Muslims, government declares ban only applies to Herald

By DESMOND DAVIDSON
October 15, 2013

The ban on the use of the word Allah only applies to the Catholic weekly, Herald, and not other Christian publications or the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible which is widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic).

He said the Cabinet decision to allow the use of Allah in Bahasa Malaysia or native language bibles in Sabah and Sarawak and the assurance given by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in 2011 still stand, thereby suggesting that the government does not believe that the word is exclusive to Muslims.

But the issue (the ban on the word Allah in the Herald) is not over yet, he added, and believed there would be an appeal to the Federal Court.

He added that the decision made by the Federal Court later could change all that.

However, he said the Federal Court ruling could still be over-ridden by a political decision.

“Decisions made by the courts are case laws. Even though they become part of the law of the country, they are normally not enforceable.

“That means you can't get the police or other agencies to enforce them. They are not statute laws (laws passed by parliament),” he told reporters after joining his constituents in Kampung Tabuan Hilir in the slaughtering of cows and distribution of meat to the poor in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidil Adha.

Wan Junaidi said the prime minister, so as not to usurp the powers of the court and the legal system, could make the exemption of Sabah and Sarawak from the ban legally, by introducing a Bill in Parliament for a law to override the court decision.

“Decisions made by the courts are case laws. Even though they become part of the law of the country, they are normally not enforceable. That means you can't get the police or other agencies to enforce them. They are not statute laws (laws passed by parliament),” - Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

“We can have a political decision to override the court decision,” he explained.

Yesterday, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) said the ban on the use of the word Allah has far-reaching implications and would affect all Christian publications printed in Bahasa Malaysia.

Deputy president of Malay rights group Perkasa, Zulkifli Noordin, called for the ban to be extended to publications in Sabah and Sarawak.

Zulkifli also said churches in Sabah and Sarawak should be "educated" on the court ruling.

In reaction, an enraged Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmaker from Sabah, Tuaran MP Datuk Madius Tangau, warned Perkasa not to drag the Borneo states into the Allah ruling.

Madius, who is also United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut (UPKO) party secretary-general, said the use of the word Allah had caused no problems in Sabah and Sarawak.

He added Christians in Sabah and Sarawak had used the word for over 100 years yet people of all religions there had lived in peace and harmony.

Sarawak Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing today reacted to Zulkifli's comments by telling him not to export what is rotten to Sabah and Sarawak.

“You (Zulkifli) keep your rotten things with you in the peninsula. Do not export them to Sabah and Sarawak and undermine our peace and unity over here.”

“You (Zulkifli) keep your rotten things with you in the peninsula. Do not export them to Sabah and Sarawak and undermine our peace and unity over here.” - Tan Sri Dr James Masing

Masing also voiced his fear that the ruling, if it had applied to the Al-Kitab, would have rendered Najib's promise made before the Saraawak state elections in 2011 empty.

“That would put a very bad dent in the BN government. The credibility of the prime minister and his government would be put to the test,” Masing added.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president also said with Sarawak heading towards a state election in three years’ time, a ban in Sabah and Sarawak would have “very serious political implications” for the BN. - October 15, 2013.