Conference of Rulers will make final decision on 'Allah' use issue, says Sultan Sharafuddin

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 07 Jun 2023

KLANG: Selangor's Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah is urging all parties not to further discuss or politicise the 'Allah' use issue further and to let the Conference of Rulers make a decisive ruling on the matter.

His Royal Highness said that since the matter involved religious sensitivities, it must be promptly resolved by the government with wisdom and responsibility.

Sultan Sharafuddin's statement came after the Selangor Ruler granted an audience to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (June 7) for a briefing regarding the government's withdrawal of its appeal in the Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill case, which was related to publications containing the word "Allah".

"As the chairman of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI), I had also voiced my opinion, which His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is in agreement, that the matter should have been first brought to MKI for discussion in line with MKI's responsibility of advising the Malay Rulers on the administration of Islamic affairs at the Federal level," said Sultan Sharafuddin.

Sultan Sharafuddin also called upon all parties to respect the provisions in the Federal Constitution that guaranteed the rights and powers of the Malay Rulers in matters related to Islam.

According to the Ruler, the matter must be solved carefully based on the Federal Constitution which stipulates that Islam is the religion of the Federation while recognising the rights of those belonging to other faiths to practise their religions peacefully.

"I also urge everyone to not politicise, raise or discuss the issue of the usage of the word 'Allah' by the non-Muslims until the Conference of Rulers makes the final decision in regards to the matter.

"This is to ensure that harmony in Malaysia remains strong in order to preserve the nation's social and economic stability," said Sultan Sharafuddin.

The Ruler added that Anwar had agreed with his suggestion that the matter be brought to MKI in August this year before it is brought before the Conference of Rulers in October 2023.

"I am certain it is important for MKI's views to be forwarded to the Conference of Rulers for a final policy to be set regarding the usage of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims in Malaysia," said Sultan Sharafuddin.

Following Sultan Sharafuddin's statement, Anwar also issued a separate statement regarding the matter.

The Prime Minister said he had explained, during the audience, that the federal government respected the state laws and the Malay Rulers' position, as heads of Islam in their respective states, as well as the role of the Conference of Rulers in determining matters related to Islam at the Federal level.

"After the discussion, I respect the views of His Royal Highness which is in line with the Cabinet's decision, last May, that the issue regarding the usage of the word 'Allah' amongst non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak should be streamlined and clarified to MKI which has the responsibility of advising the Conference of Rulers," said Anwar.

He added that Sultan Sharafuddin, in his capacity as MKI chairman, had agreed to bring the matter for discussion in the council in August before it is forwarded for consideration and scrutiny to the Conference of Rulers in October.

Anwar reiterated the federal government's position to acknowledge and adopt the current policies that allow the usage of the word 'Allah' by only Muslims in the peninsula and with certain conditions by non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak.

"The government is also committed to streamlining the existing policies based on the decision of the Conference of Rulers that will be adopted as a final policy in regards to the usage of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims in Malaysia.

On March 10, 2021, the High Court ruled in favour of the Sarawakian Christian from the Melanau tribe, Jill Ireland, by granting three of the court orders which she had sought.

This included the High Court's declaration that a government directive issued by the Home Ministry's publication control's division via a circular dated Dec 5, 1986 was "unlawful and unconstitutional".

On March 12, 2021, the Malaysian government and the Home Minister filed an appeal against the High Court's decision.

On May 15, the Home Ministry and the Government of Malaysia were reported to have withdrawn their appeal against the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court which ruled that Christians can use the word "Allah" and three other Arabic words in the publication of their religious material for learning purposes.

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