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Tuesday January 19, 2010

Penang can use ‘Allah’

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of the word “Allah” is allowed for non-Muslims in the Federal Territories, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak as the head of state is not a Sultan, according to Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

He added that the other states in the country had Islamic affairs enactments which prohibited the use of the word by non-Muslims.

In the case of the Herald, Nazri said the Home Minister used the Printing Presses and Publications Act instead of the Islamic enactment to order the publication to stop using the word Allah as this case was brought up in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to reporters after launching the public transport awareness campaign at Hentian Puduraya here yesterday, Nazri questioned the necessity for non-Muslims to use the Arabic word “Allah” when one could use “Tuhan” (God).

He also said that any settlement or resolution to the “Allah” controversy should be resolved through the courts.

Asked whether the Government would withdraw its appeal against the High Court ruling, Nazri said: “If we want to settle this out of court, it should be (Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur) Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam’s call as he was the one who had asked for a judicial review on the action taken by the Home Ministry against the Herald.

“The Government cannot ignore the legal process. It didn’t bring the matter to the court, It was Pakiam.”

Earlier, in his speech, Nazri said one of the reasons for the poor public transportation system in the country was the failure of the public to complain about offences committed by taxi or bus drivers.

The people also took for granted that enforcement authorities would take action against errant public transport drivers.

In PUTRAJAYA, Deputy Prime Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Government would adopt a wait-and-see approach on the “Allah” issue but it would use dialogues with inter-religious groups to gain a better understanding on the issue.

“We will wait for the court decision on the appeal – I do not want to (speak on the issue and seem to) pre-empt or pre-judge it.

“We are not just looking at it from a legal angle and we will find ways to work together because while we are of different religious beliefs, we are part of 1Malaysia,” he told a press conference after launching the MyID system and the Heads of Government Agencies Conference yesterday.

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