Saturday, April 26, 2008

Use of word 'Allah': High Court to rule on judicial review Tuesday

The Government needs to be careful with such request. It is definitely a bigger hidden agenda to request the use of the word "Allah" for "God". It seems there are constant badgering for "more" while Dollah is in power, knowing how weak and his lost of control over things.

It is HIGH time for muslims and Malays to stop this BY DISMISSING Dollah ASAP.

The Malaysian Insider
April 25,2008

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR– The Catholic Church will only know on Tuesday whether its application for a judicial review against an order of the Internal Security Ministry will be allowed – a decision which could have far-reaching consequences for freedom of worship in Malaysia.

At the centre of the case is an order by the government banning the use of the word "Allah" in The Herald, the weekly newspaper of the Catholic community. The Internal Security Ministry, after a delay, renewed the annual printing permit for the weekly in February but it came with a few conditions, including the non-use of the world "Allah". The church filed an application for a judicial review of the permit on March 19 and the case was scheduled to be heard this morning.

Leading the church delegation was Archbishop Datuk Murphy Pakiam and Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor The Herald. Pakiam, in his capacity as the publisher of the weekly, sought:

• Leave to apply that the declaration by the ministry prohibiting the use of Allah was null and void. It also wanted declaration that the world Allah is not exclusive to Islam.

• Leave to quash the ministry’s decision prohibiting The Herald from using the word Allah in its publication.

• Leave to stay the decision of the minister and allow The Herald to continue using the world Allah until the court decides on the matter.

Representing the church was Annou Xavier, Derek Fernandez, Leonard Teoh, Porres Royan and S. Selvarajah.

Suzanna Attan from the Attorney-General's Chambers acted for the ministry. She asked for an adjournment to submit on two of the issues raised by the church. High Court judge Lau Bee Lan then adjourned the case to Tuesday.

The church has opted for a judicial review because it is a more speedy approach to getting a decision on this matter. Last year, it filed a civil suit over the non-use of the word "Allah" but that case is likely to be heard only in a couple of years, given the backlog of cases in the High Court.

In the meantime, Father Andrew, said the word Allah was still being used in the Bahasa Malaysia section of The Herald.

"We still use it, but sparingly. We have church members from Sabah and Sarawak and as everybody knows, they are more comfortable with Bahasa Malaysia," he said, adding that he was concerned that the ministry was putting a different slant to the word "Allah".

"In the old dictionaries of the country, the word Allah is for God," he noted.

The case is being watched closely by non-Muslims, who view the prohibition by the ministry as evidence of encroachment by the government towards Constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship. Anecdotal evidence suggest that many non-Muslims voted for Pakatan Rakyat in Election 2008 because they were disappointed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not live up to his promise of being the leader of all Malaysians.

They felt that under his watch, their religious space had narrowed considerably.

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