Perikatan MPs to seek audience with S'gor Sultan, Conference of Rulers over private Bill

KUALA LUMPUR: Several Perikatan Nasional MPs intend to seek an audience with the Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and the Conference of Rulers to explain a private Bill regarding proposed amendments to the Interpretation Acts 1948 and 1967 in relation to the use of the word “Allah”.

Jasin MP Zulkifli Ismail said this was after the proposed amendments submitted to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul on May 25 were rejected.

“We learnt on Wednesday (June 7) that the motion was rejected, which was very disappointing.

“I hope that other Perikatan Nasional MPs and myself can be granted an audience by the Sultan of Selangor and the Conference of Rulers to explain this private bill,” he told a press conference at Parliament on Thursday (June 8).

He said amendments towards the Interpretation Acts were no longer a choice but instead a necessity.

“This is due to the existence of worrying apostasy activities and the presence of various deviant religious teachings brought into Malaysia and preached to Muslims,” he said.

Among the proposed amendments were to include provisions in Section 66 of the Interpretation Act in regard to the meaning, interpretation and use of the word "Allah", Zulkifli added.

Separately, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said they intended to seek the audience to explain how amendments to the Interpretation Acts can be one way towards ensuring the word "Allah" is not misused.

“What we’re afraid of is certain groups using it in the wrong interpretation, which can cause confusion.

“If everyone understands the word ‘Allah’ through the interpretation stated by the law, it will be easier,” he said at the same press conference.

On March 10, 2021, the High Court ruled in favour of a 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On May 15, the Home Ministry and the Government of Malaysia were reported to have withdrawn their appeal against the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court which ruled that Christians in Sarawak can use the word "Allah" and three other Arabic words in the publication of their religious material for learning purposes.

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