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Wednesday October 16, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 16, 2013 MYT 9:58:11 AM
by martin carvalho
PETALING JAYA: The decision against the use of the word “Allah” is confined only to the Catholic weekly, The Herald, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri.
“The Government has nothing to do with the outcome of that decision,” said Nancy, who is also law minister, when contacted here yesterday for comment on concerns by certain quarters that the decision was a blanket ruling against the usage of the word by non-Muslims.
A news portal also cited Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, as having the same view.
It quoted him saying that 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 stands, thereby suggesting that the Government does not believe that the word is exclusive to Muslims.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal ruled that The Herald will not be allowed to use the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.
A three-member panel, chaired by Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali (who was elevated to the Federal Court on Sept 30), unanimously ruled in favour of the Government’s appeal to set aside the 2009 decision of a High Court which had allowed the publication’s use of the word in its Malay-language edition.
The court also ruled that the usage of the word “Allah” was not an integral part of the Christian faith and its usage would cause confusion within the local Muslim community, and cited Article 3(1) and Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution as grounds for its decision.
The court found that the Home Ministry’s prohibition on the usage of the word in the Herald did not infringe on any constitutional rights.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported yesterday that Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek hoped that all quarters would respect the Court of Appeal’s decision.
“They should understand that the court has made a decision and we should adhere to that decision,” he said at the Aidiladha sacrificial ritual organised by RTM at the Muhammadi Surau at Angkasapuri, Kuala Lumpur.
“We must remember that laws are used to safeguard the public interest as a whole and not for the sake of any religious group.”
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