‘Ridiculous’ to demand appeal against ‘Allah’ decision, says Sarawak DCM

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James Masing says that to appeal the decision, the parties would need to seek a review of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

KUCHING: A Sarawak deputy chief minister has rebuffed those calling for Putrajaya to appeal the “Allah” decision, saying they are being “ridiculous” as Malaysia is a multi-religious country.

James Masing said the decision by the High Court that Christians are allowed to use “Allah” in their religious education showed the right to freedom of religion in Malaysia.

“I believe the judge had considered all aspects of religious and cultural sensitivity when making the judgment,” he said in a statement.

“Thus, it is a most ridiculous demand by any political party or religious group in a multi-religious country like Malaysia,” he said.

He was responding to PPBM, Umno and PAS who want the government to appeal the matter at the Court of Appeal as they were concerned by the court’s decision to allow the term “Allah” to be used by non-Muslims in their publications.

Masing said that if these parties wanted the government to appeal the decision, they would need to seek a review of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which recognises the rights and freedom of religion for Muslims and non-Muslims.

“We should let the court and those who are trained in religious tenets, such as ustaz and pastors, decide when it comes to such matters, not politicians,” he said.

Yesterday, Judge Noor Bee Ariffin said a Dec 5, 1986, home ministry directive to prohibit the use of the words “Allah”, “Baituallah”, “Solat” and “Kaabah” by non-Muslims was illegal and unconstitutional.

The judge said the directive was wrongly issued as it went beyond the aim of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

She said Jill Ireland, from Sarawak, had the constitutional right to use and import any publications for the purpose of religious education.

In 2008, Customs’ officers at KLIA seized from Ireland eight CDs entitled “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah”, “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” and “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah”.

Ireland, a Melanau Christian, filed for judicial review in 2008 but her constitutional challenge was heard in 2017.

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