Thursday, July 18

Home Ministry files appeal against High Court ruling

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry yesterday filed an appeal against the High Court ruling that the word ‘Allah’ can be used by the Catholic weekly magazine, Herald.It will file today an application for a stay of execution of the court order which was made on Dec 31 last year.

“The notice of stay of execution will be filed tomorrow (today) at the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry while the notice of appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal registry yesterday,” senior federal counsel Datuk Kamaluddin Md Said when contacted.

When the High Court decision was announced on Dec 31, Kamaluddin had informed the court that he would seek directions from the Home Ministry and the government whether to appeal or to apply for a stay of execution of the ruling.

Judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan had ruled that pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the Federal Constitution, the Herald had the constitutional right to use the word in respect of instruction and education of the congregation in the Christian religion.

She also said that pursuant to Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, it was an offence for non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’ to Muslims to propagate the religion but it was not an offence for non-Muslims to use the word to the non-Muslims for the purpose of religion.

On Feb 16, Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed for a judicial review on the usage of the word ‘Allah’ in the church’s publications for the period Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2009, naming the Home Ministry and the government as respondents and claiming that the word ‘Allah’ was not exclusive to the religion of Islam.

The Herald, which is printed in four languages, has been using the word ‘Allah’ as a translation for ‘God’ in its Malay-language section.

The word ‘Allah’ is widely used among indigenous Christian tribes in Sabah and Sarawak, most of whom speak Bahasa Malaysia.

The Home Minister had justified the ban on grounds of national security and to avoid misunderstanding and confusion among Muslims. — Bernama